State Rep. Danielle Gregoire, D-Marlborough, and her colleagues in the House of Representatives approved the fiscal 2015 state budget this week. The revenue neutral bill allows for an increase in Chapter 70 and local aid while also funding local projects.
The budget passed this week includes an increase in unrestricted general government aid by $25 million. This funding includes an increase of $130K for Marlborough, $27K for Northborough and $28K for Westborough. By providing this municipal aid program, cities and towns can incorporate these funds into their budget planning. In addition, Chapter 70 education aid was increased by $99.7 million with Marlborough seeing an $865K increase, Northborough seeing an additional $44K and Westborough receiving $289K in additional funding. “With the passage of a local aid resolution in March, my colleagues and I were able to guarantee an increase in Chapter 70 and Unrestricted Local Aid for our communities,” said Representative Gregoire. “Without creating any new taxes or fees, we have been able to ensure that Marlborough, Northborough and Westborough receive the funding necessary for local and school services.”
In addition to local aid, the FY15 budget included funding for two local projects within the City of Marlborough. Funding includes $50,000 for a city-wide restaurant/food safety education program. The City of Marlborough is looking to assist the local restaurant and hospitality community and improve overall public health and safety through a city wide education program. This program will focus on compliance with current food safety regulations and prevention of foodborne illness outbreaks. Funds will be used to provide seminars, food safety training, and proactive inspectional reviews for restaurants. In addition, $15,000 will be provided for seed money for a city wide drug and alcohol awareness campaign. The Marlborough Youth Commission is in the early stages of developing a community wide campaign aimed at reducing drug and alcohol abuse among the city’s youth population. These funds will provide substance abuse education to parents and students, will involve the development of a voluntary compliance program for businesses aimed at eliminating the sale of alcohol and tobacco to minors, as well as the organization of additional programming as developed by the Youth Commission. “These projects were deemed top priorities by the Mayor’s office and I am happy that we were able to secure funding for them in the budget,” said Rep. Gregoire. “Particularly, I am incredibly proud of the $15K we were able to provide for a drug and alcohol awareness campaign. With opiate abuse on the rise, it is critical that we do all that we can to ensure the safety of our young people.”
Finally, language included in the FY15 budget instructs the Department of Environmental Protection to investigate and report on any state and federal resources available to the owners of the surrounding property on Bolton Street in Marlborough who sustained damage due to the underground storage tank leak which occurred in April 2012. “The folks on Bolton Street have been dealing with a nightmare for the last two years and I am hopeful that we can continue to look for ways to provide these families with relief,” said Rep. Gregoire.
The bill now goes before the Senate where debate will continue.
Submitted by the office of state Rep. Danielle Gregoire.