The Massachusetts Municipal Association holds legislative breakfasts to allow municipal officials to interact with their legislators. I attended one this morning at the Christa McAuliffe Library in Framingham and the room was chock full of metrowest legislators.
I now see that my water bottle had prime placement. The photo shows about a third of the attendees.
To my left was Representative Bruce Linsky (Natick and Sherborn) who said that Natick and Wellesley are being deluged by Open Meeting Law requests by some gadfly who is taking up way too much time of the town hall workers, and that some corrective legislative action will be needed. I asked him to include allowing we selectmen to communicate by email on platforms where all our emails would appear in an on-line page in the town’s website, similar to a posted meeting, but the use of the emails would allow more efficient handling of the town’s business and the public could read the entire exchange (similar to listening to an in person meeting).
Senator Eldridge, to Linsky’s left, reported that:
- education reform almost got out of the conference committee;
- land use litigation will happen soon; and
- 82 communities have now passed plastic bag bans and we are close to a tipping point that will allow passage of a state ban.
Senator Hannah Kim talked about need for more parking at transportation (MBTA) sites and proposing an income tax deduction for farmers who donate produce that alleviates food insecurity.
Rep. Carmen Gentile (Sudbury) is seeking to make the home rule action that allowed Sudbury to give real estate property tax relief to its seniors for the past three years to any town that wants to opt in. BTW, I called and got that Sudbury material and I will organize and share it soon.
Lexington Selectman Michelle Ciccola, who is soon to be a state rep., wants to see the Massachusetts Community Preservation Act (CPA) to get better funded.
Rep. Kate Hogan was concerned about a litany of issues, and I mainly noted about transportation.
Our own Rep. Denise Garlick was not there, but was represented by Anne Weinstein, her Director of Constituent Services (out of the frame to the right).
Selectman Dan Matthews of Needham and I both told the legislators that towns need more revenue. I shared my idea to have the auto excise tax be based on the car’s fair market value, which would likely triple our ca. $2 m. revenues (the statute mandates a steep decline in the car values by year).