The Massachusetts Senate and House approved a $32.5-billion budget for fiscal year 2013 today, including funding for a number of key Cape and Islands initiatives.
“This budget is the result of a lot of hard work and difficult decisions,” said Cape and Islands Senator Dan Wolf (D-Harwich). “It also includes strong support for many areas of special importance to our region.”
State-wide, cities and towns will see local aid funding increase by $288.9 million over last year’s budget, without new taxes or fees. And regional school transportation will receive a $2 million increase state-wide from last year’s funding level, a significant help for all regional school systems.
Regional highlights include:
Wastewater planning - $350,000 has been set aside to allow the Cape Cod Commission to continue regional wastewater planning, and to build a model that will inform Cape taxpayers of capital costs of implementing options watershed by watershed, neighborhood by neighborhood, town by town. This is a direct result of an amendment filed by Senator Wolf.
Children’s Cove - Children’s Cove, a facility where victims of child sexual abuse and their non-offending family members have access to support and services, will receive up to $100,000 and the funding will be used for emergency support, continuing education and training, and an annual conference on child sexual abuse. This was an amendment supported by Senator Wolf and the Cape delegation.
Silent Spring – Will receive $50,000 to fund a study on how to remove contaminants such as hormones and perfluorinated chemicals in a range of conventional and alternative septic systems.
Yarmouth Marina - An amendment supported by Senator Wolf and Rep. Cleon Turner (D-Dennis) will allow a marina to proceed at the mouth of Parker’s River, south of Route 28, increasing access to the Yarmouth waterfront, promoting preservation and restoration of salt marshes, improving water quality, and providing the area’s first permanent boat waste pump-out facility.
Self-Sufficiency Pilot Program - A pilot program on Cape Cod will receive up to $50,000 to help remove barriers to self-sufficiency for people needing social and employment services.
Island emergency mental health services - Emergency mental health services on Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, and recognition of increased costs to provide those services, are mandated thanks to efforts from Senator Wolf and Rep. Timothy Madden (D-Nantucket).
Passed by both House and Senate, the budget now goes to Governor Patrick, who has 10 days to approve or veto sections and send it back to the Legislature. Because the state’s fiscal year begins July 1, an interim budget has been approved in the event the Governor does not sign the budget or send back changes by the end of the month.