Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Cape Ann to Benefit With Passage of New State Budget


 Boston-  The House and Senate are expected to take final action on Wednesday on a Fiscal 2016 annual state budget that provides significant funding for numerous Cape Ann initiatives. Those priorities, contained in amendments successfully attached to the Senate version of the budget by Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester), are now also part of the compromise reached on Tuesday night by the House and Senate negotiators writing the final version of the budget to be considered by each body on Wednesday.
“Cape Ann is involved in a number of innovative efforts in health and wellness programs, public safety efforts, opportunities for job seekers, and other municipal programs which provide essential services,” said Tarr. “These innovative efforts are now on a path to greater state support.”
A prime example of innovation funded in the final version of the budget, known as a conference committee report, is language authored and sponsored by Tarr directing support for development of Gloucester’s model opioid addiction and treatment program. The spending plan appropriates $100,000 for the development and implementation of a pilot program geared toward drug treatment which funds police department efforts in Gloucester and up to two other communities for coordination of a comprehensive, community-based diversion program.
Other budget sections impacting Cape Ann championed by Tarr and included in the budget:
     • $75,000.00 for the Grace Center, which serves individuals dependent on shelter housing with    a wide array of programming and support services.
     • $120,000 for the North Shore Health Project’s Hepatitis C program. The program also saw          funding in the House version of the budget through the work of State Representative Ann Margaret Ferrante (D-Gloucester).
     • $50,000 for skills training to be conducted by the Gloucester Marine Genomics Academy. These  funds will provide training for those seeking to enter the marine sciences and biotechnology fields, building on the success of the Gloucester Marine Genomics institute.
     • $20,000 in funding to assist the town of Rockport in further exploring the creation of dockage and other facilities through a 600 foot extension of Granite Pier and other changes in the harbor.
     • $300,00 to fund a Buy Local Seafood program including locally harvested seafood.
     • $50,000 to continue a phragmites mitigation plan in marshes between Gloucester and Salisbury.      • $100,000 for a Great Marsh green crab trapping program which received initial support in the
House version of the budget through the efforts of Representative Brad Hill, Representative James Kelcourse,  Representative Ann Margaret Ferrante.
Following expected approval tomorrow by the full House and Senate, the budget will next go the desk of Governor Charlie Baker for his approval.