An Act Relative to Municipal Relief pdf format of ch188_2010.pdf file size 1MB, the third major municipal reform bill in as many years, signed by Gov. Deval Patrick on July 27, is an important step toward giving cities and towns more flexibility and freedom in charting their financial course.

All elected and appointed local officials are urged to check out the 72 provisions of this new law.

While the extension of pension funding schedules and allowance for the adoption of limited early retirement programs have gained the most notice, there are many other pieces of this new law that are worthy of your attention. These include the elimination of charges associated with the State House Notes program as well as allowing cities and towns to conduct tax amnesties.

I want to thank Governor Deval Patrick and Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray for their support and active encouragement; Sen. James B. Eldridge, Senate chair of the Joint Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government and Rep. Paul J. Donato, House chair of the committee, for their leadership in moving this bill to enactment; the members of the Municipal Relief Commission; DLS' Chief Legal Counsel Kathleen Colleary and her team; and in the Executive Office for Administration and Finance, Secretary Jay Gonzalez, his legal team of David Sullivan and Jan Fogel, and A&F Director of Local Policy Pam Kocher.

On another note, I want to remind readers that City and Town has been redesigned in part to appear on a more regular and timely basis, as well as streamline communications from the Division of Local Services to municipal officials across the Commonwealth. City and Town will carry everything you need to know that comes from DLS, and will be supplemented by the occasional emailing of DLS Alerts on matters that require immediate transmission. And now, at the end of the month, readers who want to download and print out that month's entire City and Town content will be able to do so by printing a linked PDF file.

Finally, please consider placing the second annual regionalization conference pdf format of regionalization_conference_2010.pdf on your calendar. This conference will once again generate a lot of discussion about where and how to approach regionalization of services. I hope to see you in Worcester on September 2.