Earlier this week, Gov. Deval Patrick signed with an Energency Preamble the new Municipal Relief law . The preamble allows the provisions of the law to take immediate effect.
Highlights of the law, formally titled An Act Relative to Municipal Relief, include:
– Allowing cities and towns to extend their pension funding schedules out to 2040, rather than meeting the previous deadline of 2030 which seemed all but impossible given unprecedented asset losses from the stock market decline of 2008;
– Giving communities more flexibility in their borrowing by allowing the financing of projects over a term matching the asset's useful life up to 30 years;
– Permits communities to adopt a limited early retirement program;
– As noted in City and Town article of July 22, "Certification Year Reshuffle," restructures the schedule for triennial property tax recertifications.
There is much more in the new law, including changes in bidding, intermunicipal agreements, and provisions to stimulate regionalization and shared services.