From DLS about the state aid for our current fiscal year that started 7/1/2020 –
Baseline FY21 UGGA and Chapter 70 Information Now Available
Dear Local Official,
I am writing to share that information about Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) funding for Unrestricted General Government Aid (UGGA) and Chapter 70 education aid is now available on the Division of Local Services website.
While critical information from the federal government is still needed in order to finalize a full fiscal year budget for the Commonwealth, the Baker-Polito Administration and the Legislature are committing to no less than the Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) level of funding for UGGA and Chapter 70 education aid as a baseline amount for FY21 funding.
The FY21 funding commitment also includes Chapter 70 increases for inflation and enrollment that will keep all school districts at foundation, under the law as it existed for FY20, providing an additional $107 million in aid over FY20. This increase comes in addition to approximately $450 million in new federal supports for K-12 schools to assist with educating students during the pandemic.
From the Massachusetts Municipal Association this afternoon –
STATE LEADERS ANNOUNCE LEVEL FUNDING FOR MAJOR LOCAL AID ACCOUNTS
FY21 UGGA TO BE LEVEL FUNDED AT FY20 AMOUNTS
FY21 CHAPTER 70 SCHOOL AID AT LEAST LEVEL FUNDED FOR ALL
July 30, 2020
After months of uncertainty regarding the size of the state’s fiscal crisis, state leaders today announced a framework for protecting the two main sources of local aid in the state’s fiscal 2021 state budget. According to a statement issued by A&F Secretary Michael Heffernan, the Governor and Legislature are committing to no less than level funding of Unrestricted General Government Aid and Chapter 70 education aid as the baseline amount for fiscal 2021 funding for each community.
Because of the difficulty in projecting tax collections, unanswered questions about whether the federal government will provide fiscal relief, and the unknown impact that the coronavirus will have this fall, the Legislature has enacted a bill to continue with a temporary budget through October 31. The state had previously adopted a one-twelfth budget through July, and has added a 3-month extension. This will give lawmakers and the Administration more time to gather information and shape their budget plans.
Knowing that local officials need firm information on local aid and school funding in order to finalize their municipal budgets, the state’s top leaders have joined together to provide guidance to cities and towns, and the news is good for communities.
In an alert issued via the Division of Local Services, the Baker-Polito Administration announced that House and Senate leaders and the Governor would be protecting the two major local aid accounts, UGGA and Chapter 70, from cuts as they set the state’s fiscal 2021 budget later this fall.
They announced that the $1.13 billion Unrestricted General Government Aid (UGGA) program will be level funded at fiscal 2020 amounts for all communities, and that all cities and towns will receive at least level funding of their Chapter 70 education aid. Some school districts will receive school aid increases due to inflation and enrollment under the current formula. In total, Chapter 70 school aid will increase by $107 million, bringing that account up to $5.28 billion.
The Governor-House-Senate framework closely matches the MMA’s request to state leaders, which the association delivered earlier this week. MMA has asked state leaders to protect local aid from cuts by preserving aid at fiscal 2020 levels at a minimum.
MMA immediately applauded the local aid framework, issuing the following statement:
“This is very welcome news for cities and towns in every corner of Massachusetts. With the state facing a budget shortfall of between $6 billion to $8 billion due to the COVID-19 recession, local leaders have been very concerned about the potential impact on local aid. Today, the Governor, House and Senate have demonstrated that the state-local relationship is a true partnership. “By protecting local aid during this crisis, the state will maintain vital financial support for cities and towns. With this key financial guidance, communities can finalize their fiscal 2021 budgets, allowing them to continue their work fighting the coronavirus pandemic and delivering the essential quality-of-life services that drive our economy. This framework will benefit every resident and business in the Commonwealth, and we are deeply grateful to Governor Baker and Lt. Governor Polito, Speaker DeLeo, President Spilka, House and Senate Budget Chairs Michlewitz and Rodrigues, and their colleagues in the Legislature.”
Annual Town Meeting set for 11 AM June 27 on MHS field
The COVID-19 delayed 2020 annual town meeting (ATM) will take place on Saturday, June 27 at 11 AM outdoors on the Medfield High School turf field, with a rain date on June 29. The warrant for the ATM has been pared down to just the articles needed to enact the FY21 budget, with the intention to hold a special town meeting when the virus permits, perhaps in the fall, to deal with any other necessary town business.
The Select Board voted last night to recommend approval of all the articles. The Warrant Committee had already voted to recommend approval of all but one or two of the articles, and is expected to recommend approval of the remaining ones when they receive the final numbers related to those articles.
The town’s budget is built off a guess that the town’s state aid will be reduced by 10% next year. It is a guess because the state legislature is not able to give the town guidance on what to expect, because the federal government has yet to share with the state what to expect by way of federal assistance – creating this uncertainty for every American city and town is not the way government should run.
The Select Board is expected at its next meeting on June 16 to vote to make use of the legislation passed this past week that allows the ATM quorum to be reduced to just 10% of the usual quorum – our quorum is 250.
Also at the Select Board meeting last night, the Town Administrator, Kristine Trierweiler, recommended and the Select Board approved the following town side budget cuts in order to balance the town’s FY21 budget:
Town Administrator, Kristine Trierweiler, was notified by Michael J. Heffernan, Secretary of Administration and Finance, of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts this week that Medfield is slated to get $1,137,716 as its share of the $2.7 billion the Federal government is paying to Massachusetts under the Care Act. Below are that letter and memorandum.
I attended at noon today a meeting of the Massachusetts Municipal Association’s Massachusetts Select Board Association (NB – MSA changed its name this year from “Selectmen”). Bleak news about the state budget and the financial aid we will get from the state next fiscal year starting July 1 – may be down 20% this coming year. The legislative delegation is coming to the Select Board meeting next Tuesday to personally share the bad news.
The only good news was at the end of this slide –
State Revenue and Budget Outlook
• Legislature has Announced that the Fiscal 2021 Budget Process is Delayed
• Administration & Legislative Budget Writers Held New Revenue
Hearing to Revisit Revenue Forecast, with $4B to $6B Shortfall Estimated
• State Budget Process Unclear (Joint Budget? Temporary Budgets?) • GOOD NEWS … $3.5 Billion in the State Rainy Day Fund should Help to Mitigate Fiscal 2020 Revenue Shortfalls (and Increased Expenditures) • GOOD NEWS … Massachusetts Received $2.67 Billion from the Federal CARES Act to Pay for Unexpected/Unbudgeted COVID-19 Expenses
Legislation the Gov. filed this AM, that Assistant Town Admiistrator Nick Milano says is expected to be passed by the House today, allowing for postponement of our annual town meeting and municipal relief with respect to our impending budget issues –
I started this blog to share the interesting and useful information that I saw while doing my job as a Medfield select board member. I thought that my fellow Medfield residents would also find that information interesting and useful as well. This blog is my effort to assist in creating a system to push the information out from the Town House to residents. Let me know if you have any thoughts on how it can be done better.
For information on my other job as an attorney (personal injury, civil litigation, estate planning and administration, and real estate), please feel free to contact me at 617-969-1500 or Osler.Peterson@OslerPeterson.com.