Senator Joan B. Lovely
State Senator
2nd Essex District


May 27, 2016

Senate Budget Includes Funding for Local Schools and Projects

(Boston) – Today the Senate concluded debate on its version of the fiscal year 2017 budget. During debate, the Senate adopted eight amendments sponsored by Senator Joan Lovely (D-Salem) totaling $500,000 for local projects on the North Shore.

“Before budget debate each year I meet with local officials, representatives, organizations, and constituents to advocate for community projects that will benefit our area,” said Senator Joan Lovely. “These amendments combine to address municipal needs, boost the local economy, and promote our region and its residents.”

Amendment #94 provides $100,000 for municipal technology improvements in Danvers. In February 2016, the Collins Center for Public Management at the University of Massachusetts (UMASS) Boston completed a high level information technology review for the town and the funding can be used to address issues identified in the review, including enhancements for landscaping, redesigns, signage, and accessibility.

Amendment #763 provides $100,000 for enhancements to Artists’ Row in Salem. In October 2015, the city of Salem commissioned a study that examined options and provided recommendations for improvements to Artists’ Row, along with its contributions to the seasonal and year-round vitality of Salem’s downtown. The funding would allow the city to implement several recommendations included in the study.

Amendment #766 provides $25,000 to promote tourism in the Essex National Heritage Area. The Essex National Heritage Area includes 34 communities and hosts nearly 3 million visitors annually at its parks, farms, museums, landmarks, and historic places.

Amendment #771 provides $25,000 to the city of Peabody for its centennial celebration to commemorate the city’s 100 year history.

Amendment #772 provides $25,000 for a police and fire memorial at Emerson Park in Peabody to honor public safety officials and recognize the importance of public service.

Amendment #773 provides $50,000 to study the feasibility of operating a high rail trolley service on the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) track running from Peabody Square to Salem Depot.

Amendment #920 provides $100,000 for repairs to Carriage House at Lynch Park in Beverly. Improvements may include replacing siding, adding insulation, painting, replacing windows, upgrading the electrical system and plumbing.

Amendment #925 provides $75,000 for a water treatment study for the city of Peabody to determine a long-term solution to aging infrastructure issues.

The Senate budget also includes $4.63 billion for Chapter 70 education funding, a $116.1 million increase above the fiscal year 2016 funding level. The budget also dedicates $1.02 billion for Unrestricted General Government Aid (UGGA), an increase of $42.1 million over fiscal year 2016. UGGA supports a wide range of community investments in education, public safety, roads, bridges, and health care.

Funding Chapter 70 and UGGA at these levels translates into more than $76.7 million for schools and public services in Beverly, Danvers, Peabody, Salem, and Topsfield. This total represents a $1.98 million increase above the fiscal year 2016 budget.

The funding levels and projects included in the Senate budget still remain subject to the approval of a House and Senate conference committee. The committee will reconcile the differences between the House and Senate proposals and report a compromise bill to each branch for a final vote of acceptance.