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Local Aid

Cherry Sheet Aid
(000s Omitted)
FY 1997
FY 1998
Treasurer* 1,006,129   1,061,714  
Municipal Services and Abatements 20,718   20,722  
Veterans' Services 9,398   8,694  
Libraries 20,706   20,706  
Education 2,354,727   2,602,164  
Public Safety 15,682   15,682  
Transportation and Construction 43,472   43,472  
Total: 3,470,832   3,773,154  

*Includes $539.6 million in unappropriated lottery funds for Fiscal Year 1998 and $484.2 million in unappropriated lottery funds for Fiscal Year 1997

Fiscal Year 1998 Cherry Sheet Overview

The Division of Municipal Services, within the Department of Revenue, annually notifies cities, towns, and regional school districts of the aid and assessments the Commonwealth will make to them in the upcoming fiscal year. Originally, these notifications were printed on cherry-colored paper, and therefore were given the name "cherry sheets."

In Fiscal Year 1998, cherry sheet appropriations will total $3.77 billion, providing cities and towns with a direct local aid increase of $302.3 million, 8.8% over Fiscal Year 1997 levels. Since Fiscal Year 1992, total cherry sheet appropriations have increased by $1.5 billion, or 58%. The Fiscal Year 1998 budgetary recommendation represents the highest cherry sheet appropriation to date. The distribution of lottery proceeds will increase by $55.4 million, continuing the Weld/Cellucci Administration's commitment to phase out the lottery cap. This increase will be distributed to cities and towns through the lottery formula. If State Lottery Fund revenue growth exceeds current projections, the additional increase will be distributed to cities and towns through the lottery formula. Chapter 70 Education Reform Aid will increase by $222 million, continuing the Weld/Cellucci Administration's commitment to fully fund Education Reform as that initiative begins its fifth year.


The state aid distributed through the cherry sheets is comprised of several programs administered by a variety of state agencies. These programs, and their Fiscal Year 1998 funding levels, are described below.

Treasurer and Receiver-General

In Fiscal Year 1998, additional assistance, payments-in-lieu of taxes for state-owned land, and the local share of the racing tax are funded at Fiscal Year 1997 levels. Lottery proceeds distributed directly through the lottery formula will increase by $55.4 million, as the phase-out of the Commonwealth's share of lottery revenue continues.

Municipal Assistance

The Division of Municipal Services administers the Federally-Aided Urban Renewal, State Urban Renewal, and Urban Revitalization and Development Grant programs. These programs reimburse cities and towns for a portion of the costs related to urban renewal projects, which are targeted at redeveloping downtown areas, neighborhoods, industrial parks, and commercial areas. The programs also provide technical assistance to municipalities, organizations, and local businesses; provide funding for rehabilitation of low and moderate income housing units; and assist local businesses by providing financial assistance. The Commonwealth also provides reimbursements to cities and towns for tax exemptions granted to qualifying veterans, blind persons, surviving spouses, and elderly persons. Fiscal Year 1998 funding will enable the Commonwealth to provide the same level of service as in Fiscal Year 1997.

Veterans' Services

The Office of Veterans' Services, within the Executive Office for Administration and Finance, administers veterans' benefits programs, which reimburse cities and towns for 75% of the costs of benefits for veterans and their dependents. These benefits include allowances for food, clothing, shelter, heat, medical, and burial expenses. Fiscal Year 1998 funding will ensure that service levels can continue at Fiscal Year 1997 service levels.

Board of Library Commissioners

The Board of Library Commissioners oversees two cherry sheet programs: aid to local public libraries and aid to regional public libraries. The state aid distributed through these two programs assists municipalities in providing free library services and helps to defray the costs of providing regional public library services. With this aid, regional libraries are able to provide support services to municipal libraries, including interlibrary loans, research and reference searches, and the delivery of materials between libraries. The Fiscal Year 1998 funding level for libraries is equal to the Fiscal Year 1997 funding level.


The cherry sheet contains aid for several education programs. In Fiscal Year 1998, direct financial assistance in the form of Chapter 70 Education Reform Aid payments distributed through the Education Reform formula will increase by $222 million. School Building Assistance reimbursements, which provide municipalities and regional school districts with financial assistance for the planning and construction of school buildings, will increase by $24 million. Additionally, the Commonwealth will increase reimbursements for pupil transportation to regional schools by $1.5 million.

Public Safety

The Executive Office of Public Safety administers the police career incentives program, through which the Commonwealth reimburses cities and towns for 50% of the costs associated with providing incentive education programs to police officers. These incentives are offered in the form of salary increases as the officers earn undergraduate and graduate degrees. The Fiscal Year 1998 recommended funding will equal the Fiscal Year 1997 funding level.

Transportation and Construction

To reimburse municipalities for costs incurred in the construction, maintenance, and policing of local streets and roads, the Commonwealth distributes Highway Fund monies (funded through the motor vehicle fuels excise tax) to the 351 cities and towns in Massachusetts. In Fiscal Year 1998, Highway Fund distributions will equal Fiscal Year 1997 distributions.


The Weld/Cellucci Administration pursues a comprehensive local aid policy to ensure the fiscal autonomy and stability of each city and town in the Commonwealth. To that end, state agencies administer several local aid programs that provide either programmatic assistance or direct monetary aid to cities and towns. While these programs do not appear on the Cherry Sheet, they are an important part of the Administration's effort to support the delivery of quality local services. In Fiscal Year 1998, the Administration is increasing its commitment to local aid by increasing funding for education, the Judiciary, the District Attorneys, public safety, and water and sewer rate relief.


Education funding, in addition to Chapter 70 aid, will increase by over $55 million in Fiscal Year 1998. The Department of Education will consolidate eleven programs into four block grants. The block grants represent $89.6 million of funding for after-school programs, safe schools, school-linked services, high achievement, drop-out prevention, early education, and head start programs that will be distributed to cities, towns, school districts, charter schools, and regional school districts.

The Weld/Cellucci Administration will undertake several important education expansion initiatives in Fiscal Year 1998. The Administration is recommending an additional $15.7 million in early education funding. This will increase funding for that program to more than $50 million, a 46% increase over Fiscal Year 1997. This funding will support programs that prepare three and four year olds to enter kindergarten. The Administration is also recommending $3 million to fund a school-to-work matching grant program, representing an increase of more than 100% over Fiscal Year 1997. These grants will support programs that assist high-school graduates to make the transition from school to work. In addition to these programs, the Administration will expand funding for teen day care vouchers, student and school assessments, education technology, emergency food assistance programs, early intervention, and high achievement grants.

Law Enforcement

Continuing the Weld/Cellucci Administration's strong commitment to law enforcement, the Fiscal Year 1998 recommended Local Aid funding for the Judiciary, District Attorneys, and public safety will increase by $24.4 million over Fiscal Year 1997. This includes $15.4 million of increased funding for the judicial system and $3.7 million of increased funding for the prosecution of crime by District Attorneys. The Administration's Fiscal Year 1998 funding recommendation will increase Local Aid funding to the Executive Office of Public Safety by $5.3 million to fund Community Policing initiatives, which help defray the costs of safeguarding our communities, and to fund the Sex Offender Registry.

MWRA Rate Relief

In Fiscal Year 1997, residents served by the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) benefited from $46.8 million in state assistance, which served to reduce rate increases in their communities. This rate relief funding was $7 million more than provided in Fiscal Year 1996. In Fiscal Year 1998, the Administration recommends increasing funding for MWRA rate relief to $50.3 million, an increase of $3.5 million over the Fiscal Year 1997 level.


Executive Office for Administration & Finance
Budget Bureau
State House, Room 272
Boston, MA 02133
(617) 727-2081

Last updated on January 22, 1997

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