Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Lawrence Bill to be Debated

As the Massachusetts House of Representatives prepares for a spirited debate on how to best assist the City of Lawrence regain financial stability, House Republicans are offering an amendment that they believe is the best approach for the city to achieve success.

House Minority Leader Brad Jones has offered the amendment which will do the following:

1. Maintains the borrowing provisions provided for in the current bill in order to allow the city to correct their fiscal shortfall.

2. Immediately establishes a Finance Control Board to oversee the city’s finances for at least the next 3 fiscal years.

a. The Control Board will be composed of 5 members: 3 appointed by the majority vote of the Governor, the Attorney General, and the Auditor, 1 of whom must be a resident of Lawrence; the Mayor of Lawrence; and the President of the City Council.

b. The Board will have the power to change city departmental budgets, implement cost saving measures they deem appropriate, including joining the GIC, and changing fees and rates in the city, etc.

3. Incorporates receivership as a last resort, if the finance control board determines by majority vote that their powers are insufficient to correct the finances of the city.

4. Maintains the process by which an Officer within the city’s department of budget and finance will be appointed, and the officer’s term will continue to extend until all debt has been repaid.

Republican lawmakers believe this amendment provides the best opportunity for the City of Lawrence to regain and maintain financial solvency by balancing tough state intervention and assistance while respecting local sovereignty.

The Capitol View will let you know the results of this floor debate as soon as possible.