By Melanie Petrucci, Senior Community Reporter
Shrewsbury – State Sen. Michael O. Moore (D-Millbury) and State Rep. Hannah E. Kane (R-Shrewsbury) met with the Board of Selectmen at their Feb. 9 meeting where they provided an update on budget and legislation.
Moore listed items that he and Kane were able to secure in the budget and various bond bills for fiscal year (FY) 2021, (which was not finalized until November) included $62,500 for economic development, $112,000 for technology and security upgrades for the town, a transportation bond bill for $1.2 million for sidewalk improvements, planning design and construction of Route 140 north to I-290, and $20 million for Chapter 70, of which $50,000 would be for COVID-19 related expenses.
(In an email after the meeting, Kane noted that they had also secured an authorization of an additional $1.4 million in the Transportation Bond Bill for the reconstruction of the Toblin Hill Bridge in Shrewsbury.)
During the Feb. 9 meeting, she said that tax revenue had not fallen to the extent that they thought but that they are still off by about a billion dollars from the pre-pandemic from a tax revenue perspective.
This year they expect growth of 3.5 percent over FY 2021 in tax revenue and they are looking at a total budget of just over $45.5 billion dollars.
Budget impact to Shrewsbury
Gov. Charlie Baker’s budget includes first year implementation of the Child Opportunity Act (which was supposed to happen last year) in the amount of $30 per pupil “which is welcomed funding.”
“There is also the commitment to fund special education circuit breaker dollars at 75 percent which is full funding at that category,” Kane said.
Kane and Moore continue to advocate for reimbursement of transportation expenditures for busing students to schools outside their districts.
Kane remarked that federal funding will help mitigate the draw down on the state’s rainy-day fund which has been utilized this past year.
Moore remarked that the revenue report for January was surprising because it was $500 million above the estimates and was about where they were last year.
He cautioned, “It’s only January and we have a long way to go…”