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On Tuesday, August 9th, Governor Baker signed into law H. 4565, An Act modernizing municipal finance and government, in a ceremony attended by dozens of local officials, legislators, and other stakeholders. The bill, known commonly as the Municipal Modernization Bill, is based on four foundational goals, designed to enhance relations between state government and local municipalities.

The first goal, eliminating and updating obsolete laws, focuses on enhancing the infrastructure of towns and cities through the removal of legal and procedural barriers, enabling local communities to better serve their constituents.

The second goal, promoting local independence, ties directly into the Baker-Polito Administration’s commitment to local governance. The Municipal Modernization bill provides local towns and cities with greater flexibility in the use of state funds, removing caps and restrictions, and enabling communities to better use grants to service local populations.

The third goal aims at streamlining the process of state oversight, allowing for a more efficient and effective relationship between state and local government. Outdated means of oversight – including land valuations and property assessments – have been reorganized and revised as a means of reducing wasteful spending and unnecessary inspection.

The final goal of the Municipal Modernization Bill, providing municipalities with greater flexibility, lessens restrictions on certain debt statutes while also clarifying and increasing municipal procurement thresholds, allowing municipalities greater control over their funds and the ability to hand certain responsibilities to the state in order to focus on more localized problems.

“As two former local officials ourselves, the Lieutenant Governor and I have a true appreciation for the independence and flexibility created by this commonsense bill, allowing municipal officials to better serve all of our constituents and create stronger communities in all of our 351 cities and towns.” said Governor Baker, reiterating his Administration’s goal of promoting local governance.

Lt. Governor Polito has already signed over 230 Community Compacts with cities and towns throughout the Commonwealth, and the passage of this legislation marks the latest in a line of victories for the Administration in their focus on local communities.

“Whether through the working group we established shortly after taking office that generated over 1,300 suggestions from over 235 municipalities and school districts on how to deliver services more efficiently, or the more than 231 Communities that have signed a Community Compact, the ongoing dialogue we have had with local officials and our partners in the legislature is what made this effort possible” said the Lt. Governor.

Joining the Governor and Lt. Governor at the Grand Staircase was the Secretary of Administration and Finance, Kristen Lepore, as well as a number of state and local officials who made possible the passage of the bill.

“Like clearing out the cobwebs in an old barn, modernizing the way our municipalities are allowed to operate and streamlining state oversight by eliminating outdated requirements will make a difference at the ground level for people. I want to thank Governor Baker, Lieutenant Governor Polito, Speaker DeLeo , Senate President Rosenberg and the Legislature for dedicating such a tremendous amount of time and effort on what may seem like small, mundane items, but that will have an incredible impact on citizens lives throughout the commonwealth” said Dan Rivera, Mayor of Lawrence.

Along with the signing of the Opportunities for All Economic Development bill, the Municipal Modernization Bill will enable communities a greater opportunity to provide directly for the well-being citizens, without much of the bureaucratic and legal restrictions of the past.

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