By Bonnie Adams, Managing Editor
Marlborough – One of Gov. Charlie Baker’s first acts after taking office in January was to create a Community Compact Cabinet, as a way to establish stronger ties with towns and cities across the state.
Chairing the committee is Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, who is now meeting with municipal leaders as part of the “Building Stronger Communities” tour to hear their concerns and priorities.
On March 23 Polito stopped in Marlborough to meet with Mayor Arthur Vigeant, and two of the city’s state legislators, representatives Danielle Gregoire, D-Marlborough, and Carmine Gentile, D-Sudbury
In a press conference after the meeting, the lieutenant governor touched upon the goals of the compact.
“We want to strengthen the partnership between local and state government,” she said, adding that she and Baker had campaigned with the slogan, “making Massachusetts great everywhere.”
“Here in Marlborough, the city is well managed,” she said. “They follow good practices and stretch tax dollars for the tax payers. You should expect the state to do the same.”
The compact will focus on helping municipalities and the state create a mutual accountability, and promote best practices in areas such as budgeting, housing, technology and information services, she said.
Unfunded mandates, which have long stressed communities across the commonwealth, would also be addressed.
The administration was also focused on helping homeless families, she said. It was important, to not place them in hotels and motels but in facilities closer to communities where they have networks and resources, she added.
Polito also noted that on March 19 Baker had launched the Winter Recovery Assistance Program (WRAP), a $30 million targeted effort to assist cities and towns with repairs to roads and bridges under municipal jurisdiction.
This was in addition to the $100 million in Chapter 90 funding that was released on the administration’s first day in office, she said. (Chapter 90 is the formula that MassDOT, the state’s transportation department, uses to allocate funds for road construction and repair.)
Those monies were certainly welcome, Vigeant said, adding that the city was $2 million in deficit for snow and ice removal for the season.
“For the past two weeks, we’ve had six to seven crews out there working on the roads and potholes,” he said.
But because it had been so cold, the fixes were only temporary. Once the warm weather is here, more permanent measures could then be taken, he said.
According to a release from Baker’s office, the $30 million has been allocated from an existing fiscal 2015 bond authorization and are based on the Chapter 90 formula. Marlborough will receive $167,314 in WRAP funds.
Under the WRAP, cities and towns can seek reimbursement from MassDOT on expenditures related to patching potholes, pavement cracking, surface defects, paving projects; repair or replacement of damaged signs, guardrail, storm drains, and line striping.