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May 22, 2017
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Local Aid Cut Is Announced
Updated On: Dec 10, 2009
Brockton, suburbs brace for layoffs from local aid cuts; view town by town chart inside More painful budget reductions expected next fiscal year -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- By Jessica Scarpati ENTERPRISE STAFF WRITER Posted Jan 29, 2009 @ 01:50 AM Last update Jan 29, 2009 @ 08:05 AM -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- No one was expecting good news out of Beacon Hill on Wednesday. But when Gov. Deval Patrick released the details of his anticipated $128 million cuts to local aid and Lottery money, city and town officials across southeastern Massachusetts still reacted with shock, anger and pessimism. “It’s going to be bodies,” said Brockton Mayor James E. Harrington, who is bracing for more city layoffs after the governor’s mid-year cuts, which Patrick has the authority to make without legislative approval. The reductions amount to every community losing 9.74 percent of what they were scheduled to receive in state aid for the year. But for many local officials, the worst is yet to come. The next fiscal year, which starts July 1, is expected to bring even less state money to cities and towns. Patrick is proposing a $220 million reduction, or 4.2 percent, for fiscal 2010 — if the Legislature adopts an increase in the statewide meals and hotel taxes. Without those measures, the recommended cut would be $375 million, or 7 percent. That figure is far from final, however, as the fiscal 2010 budget will require the Legislature’s approval. State Sen. Brian A. Joyce — a Milton Democrat who represents Avon, East Bridgewater, Easton, Randolph, Stoughton and West Bridgewater — said the cuts will not be easy for anyone, but harder on some. “Randolph, for example, is quite significant in that it’s a town that is making some very positive progress,” he said. “The crime rate is down, and that is frankly a result of spending.” Joyce said he hoped the next year would motivate lawmakers to find new ways to save and raise money. Here is how some cities and towns reacted to the news. BROCKTON “I don’t know what the governor is expecting us to do,” said City Council President Timothy Cruise. “People are going to see huge cuts in the police and fire departments to dangerous levels.” Also restricting local communities is the governor’s refusal to cut state money for schools, known as Chapter 70 funding. “They took away any flexibility,” Harrington said, suggesting the city may ax school transportation entirely as a possible way to recoup the difference. The service is funded by the city, he said. Harrington expects $8 million to $10 million less in state aid in the next fiscal year, he said, which he predicted could turn into an overall budget deficit between $15 million and $19 million. The proposed meals and hotel taxes “could help somewhat,” Harrington acknowledged, but said the city’s largest expense, health insurance, overshadows any minor revenue boost. BRIDGEWATER “Everything is on the table,” said selectmen Chairman Herbert J. Lemon Jr., whose budget lost $388,360 in current local aid. Lemon would not say what services or departments would absorb that loss, but said he would try to ensure it wouldn’t be police or fire. EASTON Selectmen Chairman Colleen A. Corona said the governor’s budget numbers mean the town will lose $266,000 in state aid for the current spending year and $522,000 in the year beginning July 1. “The most disappointing thing to me is that in 2006, we worked hard to get an override passed to give us money for several years, and now the money we expected to get from the state isn’t coming through,” Corona said. To save money, Town Administrator David A. Colton has already announced the layoff of Marc R. Rousseau, the town’s director of planning and community development, to save $45,000 through June. “It was the number we were expecting when they started talking (about local aid cuts), so we started saving our pennies this fall,” Colton said. “Next year there will be layoffs.” WEST BRIDGEWATER Although the loss for West Bridgewater seems comparatively smaller — $79,309 — Town Administrator Beth D. Faricy said it will be no less painful. “It just looks pretty dire,” said Faricy, who had expected a $65,000 loss and fretted about next year. RAYNHAM Selectmen said a $137,911 cut this year will be tough, but the net loss will be even tougher in the coming years, once the local greyhound racetrack closes and stops contributing about $400,000 annually to town coffers. Selectman Don McKinnon was hopeful the state would compensate the town for the loss of the track money, which came from a percentage of its handle. Staff writer Vicki-Ann Downing contributed to this report. Jessica Scarpati can be reached at jscarpati@enterprisenews.com.
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