$5 Million for Local Projects Await Baker’s Signature
State Senator Adam Hinds announced Friday that the Massachusetts House and Senate enacted the final FY22 state budget, which is now on the Governor’s desk. The $47.7 billion spending plan contains nearly $5 million for local projects throughout the Berkshire, Hampshire, Franklin & Hampden Senate District first secured by Hinds during the Senate budget debate in May, which includes $4 million for the Rural School Aid grant program that he established in 2018.
As we remerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, a key aspect of our state’s economic recovery is to actively incentivize increased investments in our small towns... That begins with the legislature investing in our communities now so that they may see long-term economic growth... Every dollar invested in rural communities is another step toward addressing regional inequities and closing the gap between rural and urban areas in our Commonwealth. ~ Senator Hinds
These are the local initiatives, secured by Senator Hinds, funded in the FY22 State Budget adopted today:
- $4,000,000 for the Rural School Aid grant program.
- $200,000 for the continued operations of the Berkshire Opioid Abuse Prevention Collaborative (BOAPC).
- $270,000 for operational funds for the Berkshire Flyer set to operate in summer 2022.
- $100,000 to the Franklin Regional Council of Governments to conduct a study of the Deerfield River and its uses.
- $100,000 for the renovation of the Berkshire Family YMCA's North Street facility in downtown Pittsfield.
- $75,000 to support repairs to the Williamstown Meetinghouse.
- $75,000 to support the continued operations of the Western MA Network to End Homelessness, operating in Berkshire, Hampshire, Franklin & Hampden Counties.
- $50,000 for MCLA’s Gallery 51 on Main St. in North Adams.
- $50,000 fellowship to advance the mission and strategic plan of the Berkshire Black Economic Council.
- $40,000 to the Town of Charlemont to support town planning operations.
- $10,000 to the Town of Williamsburg for their 250th Anniversary Celebration in 2022.
The state budget also includes an initiative sponsored by Senator Hinds to implement several recommendations of the newly created Tax Expenditure Review Commission. The commission thoroughly reviewed spending through the tax expenditure budget and highlighted several expenditures that no longer serve their desired purpose. The state heeded the advice of the commission and eliminated several such expenditures, slated to save taxpayers several million dollars beginning in the tax year 2022.
The state budget also includes Senator Hinds’ initiatives to further broadband access throughout Massachusetts.
The following initiatives include:
- The Department of Telecommunications and Cable (DTC) is to collect data on the basics of broadband service in Massachusetts, with the goal of gaining a clear, fact-based understanding of the availability, affordability, service quality, and competitive health of the broadband market in the Commonwealth.
- Towns may continue to issue one-year temporary refunding notes exclusively for broadband construction debt without paying any portion of principal from revenue funds until such time as the state’s award of the FCC’s Connecting America Funds is released from escrow.
Governor Baker has 10 days to review and act on the budget bill.
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