The House and Senate have approved a $41.88 billion state budget for Fiscal Year 2019 that includes increased local aid for Reading as well as funding for several local projects.
The spending proposal represents a compromise reached by a six-member conference committee that worked to reconcile the differences between earlier versions of the budget passed by the two branches. House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading), Representative James J. Dwyer (D-Woburn) and Senator Jason M. Lewis (D-Winchester) all supported the final budget, which was sent to Governor Charlie Baker on July 18.
The budget provides a total of $4.9 billion in Chapter 70 education aid for Massachusetts’ school districts, which represents an increase of $148.1 million over last fiscal year’s appropriation. It also includes just under $1.1 billion in Unrestricted General Government Aid to cities and towns, an increase of $37.2 million.
Reading is scheduled to receive a total of $10,713,609 in education aid this year, an increase of $122,310. The town will also receive $3,352,020 in unrestricted aid, which can be used to fund a variety of municipal priorities. This represents an increase of $113,353 for the town.
In addition to local aid, the budget includes funding for a series of Reading-based initiatives, including:
- $10,000 for the Reading Coalition Against Substance Abuse to supports its substance abuse and addiction awareness and education efforts;
- $25,000 for a public safety grant to cover the costs of training local police, firefighters, EMTs and dispatchers in delivering coordinated responses to emergency situations; and
- $35,000 for a 1-year pilot program for the demonstration of the community network aging in place, a multi-community initiative that includes Reading, Brookline, and Nauset.
“The entire Reading legislative delegation worked together to advocate for the inclusion of the town’s priorities in the final budget,” said Representative Jones. “The additional local aid funding, in particular, will help Reading continue to provide many essential municipal services that benefit all residents.”
“The residents of Reading will see major benefits as a result of the new local aid funding our delegation secured,” said Representative Dwyer. “I am proud to represent Reading and I am proud of my colleagues for our diligent work and for what we were able to accomplish for the community.”
“The Commonwealth continues to work hard to deliver results for our communities in the FY19 budget,” said Senator Lewis. “The state budget supports Reading with increased general government aid, school funding dollars, and support for community projects and improvements, and I’m proud that the members of our legislative delegation have been strong advocates and partners for the town.”
Governor Baker has until July 28 to sign the budget.