GOVERNOR PATRICK SIGNS $54 MILLION SUPPLEMENTAL BUDGET FOR STORM RECOVERY EFFORTS, YOUTH VIOLENCE PREVENTION INITIATIVES, AND SAFETY NET SERVICES
The $54 million budget bill includes $15 million to fund costs incurred during state emergency response efforts, and provides new tools for municipalities to expedite emergency borrowings.
"This emergency funding will help individuals, families and businesses owners across Central and Western Massachusetts begin to rebuild their lives," said Governor Patrick. "I want to thank the Legislature for recognizing the urgency of this assistance and for continuing to partner with us as we work to provide resources for recovery efforts."
"As we continue to invest in cities and towns across the Commonwealth, this additional funding will support our efforts to partner with communities impacted by the recent tornadoes as well as those in need of immediate resources and services," said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray.
This bill eliminates the requirement for approval from the Legislature and the Municipal Finance Oversight Board (MFOB) for short-term borrowing in the event of an emergency. It also allows communities to expedite emergency borrowings by allowing emergency borrowing for capital purposes for a longer term with the approval of the MFOB. The bill allows tornado-impacted communities who have not adopted the local option alternate property tax assessment date to adopt the provision specifically to provide property tax relief to property owners impacted by the tornado. Fiscal year 2012 property taxes would be based on the damaged condition of the properties.
The bill also provides $10 million in funding for the Governor's Safe and Successful Youth Initiative. Launched by Governor Patrick in May, the initiative is a multi-faceted strategy for eliminating youth violence in the Commonwealth that emphasizes the Administration's commitment to partnering with local officials to tackle this issue. The goal of the funding is to bolster efforts in target communities and help ensure that a full continuum of services - trauma informed case management, intensive supervision, employment, education and health care - are available and coordinated in each city and are reaching the young men most likely to commit or be victims of gun violence.
Other funding items in the bill include:
- $14.3 million for a reserve to mitigate deficiencies at various sheriffs' offices;
- $10 million for estimated child care caseload deficiencies;
- $1.2 million to support one-time staging costs in line with reforms in the state's family homelessness programs
"This funding is an important step in the recovery process. The people in these communities need our help, and our emergency workers and volunteers need our support as we continue to rebuild neighborhoods and businesses in this part of the Commonwealth," said Senate President Therese Murray.
"In the wake of these destructive tornadoes, we must do all that we can to support rebuilding efforts in the affected areas," House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo said. "This funding is an important step toward making these communities whole again. Though the process of reconstructing these communities will take some time, I am eager to work with the Governor, Senate President and local leaders to get the job done."
"The communities in Central and Western Massachusetts are facing a level of devastation that is unprecedented for them. Although recovery will take time, the funding included in this bill is a step towards revitalizing the communities affected by the June storms and will address costs incurred by the state in responding to the storm, as well as provide assistance to residents through temporary housing and other services, " said Stephen M. Brewer, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. "In this difficult fiscal climate, all municipalities across the Commonwealth are already struggling, this bill will offer some relief to communities looking to maintain vital services."
"Our priority in this supplemental budget was to provide immediate relief to those affected by the devastating tornado. When those among us are faced with disaster, it is the role of government to be supportive and responsive so they may begin to rebuild their lives," said Brian Dempsey, Chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means.