Administration and Finance Secretary Michael Heffernan speaks about the FY19 supplemental budget bill at the meeting of the Local Government Advisory Commission on Sept. 10. Listening are Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito (left) and Norwell Selectman and MMA President Ellen Allen (right).

The House last night passed legislation to close the books on fiscal 2019, with additional funding for a range of local programs, including roads, water and education.

The budget bill (H. 4127) would use a portion of the state’s substantial year-end surplus to add to the state stabilization fund. The bill would also cover shortfalls in a number of fiscal 2019 state budget accounts and provide extra funding for important capital programs, including local roadway improvement and water quality programs.

The House bill is based on legislation filed by Gov. Charlie Baker last month (H. 4067) to close the books on the fiscal year that ended on June 30. The legislation now moves to the Senate.

The House-passed bill includes the following:

Municipal capital programs
• $60 million for grants to cities and towns for the construction and improvement of municipal ways (1595-6386) as a supplement to the Chapter 90 program. This would exceed the $40 million amount for municipal roads in the fiscal 2018 year-end budget bill.
• $8.4 million to help cities and towns address local drinking water contamination by per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), including water supply testing and grants to cover treatment (2250-2002), a targeted $20 million transfer to the Massachusetts Clean Water Trust to help remediate PFAS contamination (1595-1200), and the establishment of a PFAS task force (section 55)
• A $35 million transfer to the Clean Water Trust (1595-1205) to help finance improvements to local water systems

Municipal and school aid programs
• $2 million for the special education circuit breaker program (7061-0012), which would bring fiscal 2019 to full funding for the state’s share of this important program
• $2.6 million for student transportation in regional school districts (7035-0006), which would bring state funding closer to the full funding mark
• $2 million for student transportation reimbursements for homeless students under the federal McKinney-Vento Act (7035-0008).
• $17.5 million (7061-9010) for charter school reimbursements (not included in governor’s recommendation)
• $4 million for the Municipal Regionalization Reserve (1599-0026) to help cities and towns develop best practices in vital areas, such as cybersecurity
• $5 million (2511-0100) to help cover the cost of spraying to reduce the risk of Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE)

In working through nearly 100 proposed amendments, House members added $1.5 million to pay for a public awareness campaign in advance of early voting for the 2020 presidential primary and $1 million to fund a grant program to help cities and towns with 2020 census count activities. The grants would be targeted to municipalities with high risk of census undercounting.

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