Monthly Archives: December 2010

Weekly Mass Political Summary – Week Ending December 10, 2010

Week Ending December 10, 2010

Prior to his weekly meeting with House and Senate leaders, Governor Patrick said that he is preparing a supplemental budget bill for FY2011 to fund mid- year spending deficits in numerous state programs.  Tax receipts have exceeded projections for the first half of FY2011, leaving the state with a revenue surplus. However, increased enrollment estimates for MassHealth and other social service programs will likely cut into this surplus. According to Governor Patrick, legislative leaders in both chambers have requested that he address the spending requests now. This would be a change from previous years in which the Governor waited until January to file any supplemental budget, in conjunction with the release of his annual budget. Tax collections are currently $500 million above benchmarks although greater demand for Medicaid is expected to reach $500 million as well.


Having said that probation reform would be his top priority, Speaker Robert DeLeo (D-Winthrop) announced this week that he would support moving the Probation Department into the Civil Service system. Republicans immediately criticized the proposal, saying that Speaker DeLeo and other legislators were responsible for the scandal and are thus more worried about protecting themselves than reforming the system. Released last month, the Ware report detailed systemic abuse and corruption within the Massachusetts Probation Department. DeLeo’s proposal is in conflict with the position held by Governor Patrick, who has repeatedly pressed for merging the probation department into an agency within the executive branch, arguing that housing the probation and parole boards under one roof would provide prisoners re-entering society with a smoother transition. On Monday, Governor Patrick, Senate President Therese Murray and Speaker DeLeo announced the creation of a nine-member commission to overhaul the state’s probation system.


The Massachusetts Association of Realtors released statistics this week which showed that the number of single family homes placed under purchase and sales agreements were almost unchanged compared to November 2009. This was the first time in the last six months that pending home sales had not decreased compared to 2009. Purchase and sales agreements last month were down 9% versus one year earlier. Kevin Sears, president of the Massachusetts Association of Realtors, predicted that based on the lack of a drop in sales this past month, pending home purchase agreements will continue to increase in December.


Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM) measures business confidence in the state through a survey it sends out to its members. The AIM confidence index is currently at 52.1, a 3.2% drop since October. However, any score over 50 is considered in the positive range. If the business confidence in the state stays at its current level, it will be at its highest level since the end of 2007. The index reached its all time low in February 2009.



John Nunnari, Assoc AIA
Executive Director, AIA MA
617-951-1433 x263
617-951-0845 (fax)

MA Chapter of American Institute of Architects
The Architects Building
52 Broad Street, Boston MA 02109-4301

Funny ad to help men to stay out of the doghouse when gifting – (on-line news) is coming to town. Patch is AOL, & it sets up an editor/writer per town. Greg Abazorius does Needham

It’s official ==> DOR accepted Medfield’s tax rate for this FY at $15.02, up from $14.24 in FY10.

DCAM offered to test VOC’s at Well 6 (along Charles off Rte 27 – no VOC’s detected on last test in early 2010), given VOC’s detected at MSH

High water bills- Mike Sullivan says 1-the W&S Bd raised rates 15% (1st in 4 years) 2-dry summer & progressive rates

High water/sewer bills

The water and sewer bills that came out two weeks ago got a lot of comment for being high.  Mike Sullivan tells me that the sticker shock resulted from the fact that the Water and Sewer Board had not raised rates for four years, and decided that they needed to raise rates 15%, combined with a dry summer that resulted in more outside watering.  Mike suggested comparing your usage to the prior years to see if you had used more water.  The rates per gallon of water used increase as usage increases, in an attempt to discourage excessive usage.

The Massachusetts DEP in its water withdrawal permits has been seeking to implement a maximum withdrawal of 65 gallons per person per day in the state, and Medfield is currently using about 90 gallons per person per day.  The DEP’s proposed system would require the town to police the usage, under threats of state sanctions if the town could not bring water usage down to the 65 gallons per person per day.  This level of water usage would effectively prohibit outdoor watering, given the current indoor water usage of residents.

The DEP effort to implement this new requirement was blocked in the water withdrawal permits the town received last year, but it is probably only a matter of time before the DEP does get them in place.

Norfolk Selectman Association meeting

Attended Norfolk Selectman Association meeting last night – focused on regional services for towns, provided via Norfolk County government.

Norfolk County’s budget is way down – by way of example, the County Engineering Department has been reduced from 13 FTE to 5 FTE employees.   In rough numbers, of the $25 m. per year county budget, $5 m. goes to the Aggie School, $3 m. to the Norfolk Registry of Deeds, and a large portion goes to cover legacy costs from the former county hospital that has been closed (i.e – pensions and health insurance for former hospital employees).

The Norfolk County government is seeking legislation to add $10 to the fee to record documents, from $75 to $85.  $45 of that fee currently goes to the state, $25 to the Community Preservation Act funding, and the county government gets the remaining $10.  It generates $1.4 m. per year for Norfolk County.  The new monies would be used to create regional solutions to municipal needs, such as veterans agents, animal control, dispatch, assessing, and collections.

If Norfolk County government ceased to exist, the towns get a bad deal.  Under the state system, the legacy costs of the county would be assessed against the municipalities in the county, but the county income that formerly used to pay those costs will go instead to the state.


SHERC meets 6 PM tonight at Town Hall. DCAM presents installation plan for additional groundwater monitoring wells near former power plant

Report on Unsafe Toys

Trial lawyers report on toy safety ( good road map for what to watch out for: sharps joined by lead, toxins, & magnets