Gloucester lawmakers Senator Bruce Tarr and Representative Ann-Margaret Ferrante have secured a significant amount of state support for innovative and important initiatives serving Cape Ann communities in the state’s Fiscal Year 2020 budget bill now on the desk of Governor Charlie Baker.
The lawmakers authored, proposed, and successfully championed, amendments which will aid in public safety, water quality, economic development, fisheries, marine genomic research and efforts to support the anniversary celebrations of Gloucester and Essex.
“Residents in our communities are very fortunate to have people who are committed to helping others. Each of the programs, projects and ongoing initiatives identified for support in the state budget came about as a result of our strong partnerships with local officials and organizations,” said Senator Tarr, the Senate’s Minority Leader. “Our area fared well because it is served well by those partnerships and the efforts of individuals that are involved in them.”
“The funding in this year’s budget for Cape Ann is reflective of our area’s people, our collective history and our economic future. Investments in our residents through support of the Open Door, our public safety officers, our schools and our environment are priorities reflected in this budget,” said Representative Ann-Margaret Ferrante, House Chair of the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies (D- Gloucester). “Specific funding for lobster processing, marine science, the Blue Economy and marine genomics all foster opportunity and economic prosperity for our district. The collaboration within our state delegation, our local partners in government and our community has proven productive and yielded much success for Cape Ann.”
Among those items which were included in the final budget:
- Lobster Processing – a major provision to strengthen the Massachusetts lobster processing laws to allow the sale, transport and processing of shell-on lobster parts
- $50,000 to assist the Gloucester Fire Department with the purchase of 40 units of firefighter protective clothing known as turnout gear
- $200,000 for a program of collaborative shellfish research by the Gloucester Marine Genomics Institute, Division of Marine Fisheries and UMass Amherst/Marine Station in Gloucester
- $25,000 for the Gloucester Marine Genomics Institute to plan and design regional broadband infrastructure
- $35,000 for the Essex Bicentennial Committee for the celebration of the 200th anniversary of the incorporation of the Town of Essex
- $50,000 for the research, design, and distribution of a commemorative publication of the history of the City of Gloucester for the 400th Anniversary
- $40,000 for the planning and design of the public safety building in Essex
- $25,000 for the replacement of water filters at the water treatment facility in Rockport
- $100,000 for the Open Door Food Pantry
- $55,000 for phase two of the ongoing efforts to develop a plan to foster the growth of the North Shore Blue Economy
- A provision to ensure that the state’s $500,000 Buy Local program includes locally harvested seafood, including fish and shellfish
In addition, the budget also contains $16.4 million in Chapter 70 education aid and unrestricted local aid for Cape Ann communities.
A six-member conference committee working to reconcile the differences between the House and Senate versions of the budget reached consensus this week on a compromise spending plan for the new fiscal year that began on July 1. Senator Tarr appointed one of the three Senate members of that conference committee.
Governor Baker has until August 2 to approve or disapprove of the contents of the $43.1 billion budget proposal which was approved by both legislative branches by a near unanimous vote on July 22.