BOSTON- The Massachusetts State Senate debated and passed the state budget bill allocating funds for the 2019 fiscal year. Included in the final bill were items of special importance for Cape Cod communities proposed by State Senator Vinny deMacedo (R-Plymouth). As ranking member on the Senate’s Committee on Ways and Means, Senator deMacedo plays an active role in the crafting of the budget and advocates strongly for amendments to benefit local communities.
Included in the budget released last week by the Committee on Ways and Means was $1.3 million for towns to aid the education of children who live on military bases and attend public schools in those towns. This funding is especially important in Bourne where families who live at Joint Base Cape Cod send students to the Bourne Public Schools.
“I appreciate the opportunity to work with Chairwoman Karen Spilka (D-Ashland) on this important issue,” said Senator deMacedo. “It is a privilege to be able to make sure that these families have access to a high quality education. This funding ensures that the Town of Bourne does not disproportionately bear the cost of providing an education for these families who have sacrificed on behalf of the entire Commonwealth.”
Senator deMacedo also filed amendments to the budget that allocated funds for projects in Falmouth that will be beneficial to the local economy. Amendment #676, was included in order to provide $80,000 for the Falmouth Economic Development and Investment Corporation (EDIC) to bring high speed internet to Falmouth’s Main Street by installing fiber optic cable. This state investment will add to money already contributed by the EDIC as an investment by the Commonwealth in the economic growth of Falmouth’s main business district. Businesses on Main Street have said that the current internet arrangement has hindered their ability to process credit and debit card payments, adversely affecting their businesses. Engineering for this project has been completed and Open Cape is ready to start work once the funds are available.
“I appreciate the State Senate for supporting this amendment and the Falmouth community,” said Senator deMacedo. “These investments will modernize the Main Street area and allow local businesses to meet the demands of the busy season when Falmouth hosts so many visitors who want to enjoy the charm and convenience of Main Street shopping.”
Senator deMacedo’s Amendment #677, focused on the preservation of one of the museums that makes up the Museums on the Green organization in Falmouth. The Dr.Francis Wicks House was built in 1790, making it the oldest house on the Town Green. Visitors to this historic landmark are able to see an example of what life was like for a physician in federalist America. The $10,000 approved by the Senate will allow Museums on the Green to continue their important work to preserve this historic landmark and continue its operation as an educational tool in our community.
The Ways and Means budget also includes an additional $1.7 million to reimburse cities and towns for state owned lands as payment in lieu of taxes. This includes $308,143 for the Town of Falmouth to hold them harmless for changes in valuation from the previous fiscal year. The additional funding represents a one-time expenditure to allow the town time to adjust revenue projections based on the change in state owned land valuation.
The budget will now be reconciled by the Joint Conference Committee from the House of Representatives and the Senate before being presented to the Governor for his final approval.