A delegation of state legislators gave a positive outlook that the town may see the recently cut $750,000 in prison mitigation funds before the end of the fiscal year.
The group which included Rep. John Rogers, Rep. Paul McMurtry and representatives for Sen. James Timilty and Rep. Louis Kafka met with selectmen Tuesday night and indicated that there was a possibility the town could see the money this fiscal year.
“That money, in effect, has not been cut, it just hasn’t been released. So we’re asking the governor in March if there is a healthy surplus for FY ’13 to release that money,” Rogers said.
The town lost the funding they have received sporadically in the past for hosting MCI-Cedar Junction after Governor Deval Patrick made his 9c cuts to help close the state's $225 million revenue gap.
Rep. Rogers who spoke on behalf of the delegation said they had hoped the governor would have held off making the cuts until January because December is "a key indicative month for revenue collections in the year."
"[Monday] we took action in the House to reject the governor’s 9c expansion which would have meant another $9 million cut to local aid and today the Department of Revenue certified that the month of January revenues that came in are $307 million above the newly revised benchmark," Rogers said. "So, the $225 million deficit of November has in effect been erased. So, we’re trending in the right direction so by March we’ll have a better picture. The remainder of the fiscal year is going to show us whether or not the administration can accommodate the release of that money.”
Selectmen Eric Kraus, who was participating in the meeting remotely via telephone, asked Rogers what the odds were of the town seeing the money this fiscal year.
“I think the prospect for incorporating that in the FY ’14 budget, once again, are good,” Rogers replied.
The group wanted to make clear that it was not a done deal and there was still a lot of work to be done.
Said Rep. McMurtry: “I want to reassure you and this board and the citizens of the town of Walpole that we stand steadfast as a collective delegation with Sen. Timilty, Rep. Kafka, Rep. Winslow and Rep. Rogers in our effort to serve the best interests of this community and I want to reassure you and everyone that we’ll continue to do so in the efforts in the requests that this community desires"
“We do not take anything for granted," said Rogers. "We do not assume that because we got it last year that we’ll get it again. So we’re going to have to work equally as hard to ensure that it reappears on the governor’s desk.”