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Muradian Discusses Proposed State Budget Figures with Board

State Rep. David Muradian R., Grafton, paid a visit to the Upton Board of Selectmen to discuss some of the latest preliminary figures that have come out of the Governor's proposed budget. The discussion took place during a February 16 meeting.

First, Muradian opened up the discussion by thanking Upton town officials for helping him out with a winter coat drive he coordinated in December. The town provided bins for the donations. "I'm proud to report that we collected just over 500 coats," he said. The coat donations went out to local school districts and the Department of Children and Families in Whitinsville.

Next, Muradian provided the Selectmen with some tentative state budget figures beginning with Chapter 70 funding. "Upton will continue to receive for Chapter 70 monies $19,248, with the understanding that we have the Regional School District, which will now be increased to $12,175,803. So you'll see an increase of $44,220 from last year's numbers."

The budget also proposes other overall increases in education including $18.6 million for quality kindergarten grant programs that help provide tuition free, full day kindergarten to communities. In addition, $5.6 million will be put towards next generation MCAS testing.

Muradian then explained that Chapter 90 monies figures are "still forthcoming," but explained the Governor is putting forth a request of $200 million for Chapter 90, which must be approved by the legislature.

The State Rep. said he is working toward securing the town's "budget ask," which is $28,000 for 13 defibrillators and a training unit. "This is a very reasonable ask that will certainly help the town out." Last year, Muradian helped secure partial funding for a new salt shed for the DPW. "Unfortunately, it's still a tough fiscal climate. We can't be giving out the money that once you could see in Massachusetts but we're working our way back," he said.

He also reported that significant progress is being made in reducing the long term structural imbalance in the state's budget, going from a $1.8 billion budget gap in Fiscal 2016 to $635 million in Fiscal 2017. Much of that is due to reduced use of one time budget solutions.

He added that a sizable deposit of $200 million will be placed in the state's stabilization fund that will help improve the bond rating. And finally a proposed increase of 4.3 percent will go toward unrestricted local aid.

The Selectmen said they appreciated Muradian for coming in to discuss the proposed budget figures. "Thank you for your efforts and to recognize our needs and to go forward with them is much appreciated," said Selectman Robert Fleming. Selectman Chair Ken Picard agreed. "You've been very accessible to us. Your communication has been outstanding." Muradian said at this point in the budget process there are no guarantees but he will do his best to advocate for the town.


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