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HomeBudget bill includes $15 million for disaster relief funds

Budget bill includes $15 million for disaster relief funds

abass@northstarreporter.com

In September, North Attleborough was hit by flash floods that damaged homes, infrastructure and municipal buildings.

Now, nearly three months after the floods occurred, Gov. Maura Healey has signed a $3.1 billion supplemental budget bill that includes relief funding for towns and cities that were impacted by the storms.

The law allocates $15 million in available funding for municipalities that meet the Executive Office for Administration and Finance criteria.

State Rep. Adam Scanlon (D-North Attleborough) said the relief funding will help rebuild and refurbish the North Attleborough homes, businesses and buildings affected by the flooding. Scanlon thanked his colleague, state Sen. Paul Feeney (D-Foxboro), for ensuring the Senate included disaster relief in the supplemental bill.

“This was in some places that had never seen flooding before,” said Scanlon. “I hope that these critical funds make it to those who were most affected by the flood and are used to make sure our city’s infrastructure remains fully functional and safe.”

Town Council President Justin Pare said the town would apply for the funds when the Executive Office for Administration and Finance releases the application guidelines.

“Our community was severely impacted and this aid will go a long way towards helping us to rebuild,” Pare said. “Town leaders will work to make sure this aid reaches those in our community most highly impacted.”

Additionally, the bill includes $250 million in funding for the shelter system to accommodate the growing number of homeless and migrant families in Massachusetts. Of this, $50 million will go towards the construction of overflow sites required to be open on Dec. 31.

Healey signed the bill on Dec. 4 after it was passed by the House and Senate earlier that day. Before its signage, the bill had been stuck in legislative limbo, with House and Senate Democratic leadership unable to compromise during the last formal session of the year due to disagreements on how the $250 million should be allocated.

House Democrats wanted the administration to create one overflow site within 30 days for families unable to access shelter, while the Senate had no such requirement. In addition, the House only wanted to spend $12 million in relief funding, but the Senate wanted to pay $15 million.

The two chambers drafted a compromise bill on Nov. 30, but House Republicans blocked the bill during informal sessions. Republicans argued the bill should be passed during a formal session and continued to block it for five days. The bill passed on Dec. 4 when a supermajority of House Democrats created a quorum to send the bill to the Senate, which then passed the bill for Healey to sign.

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