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WSAR NEWS Archives for 2017-05

Fall River City Council Tomorrow


The Fall River City Council meets at 6pm Tuesday in their Second Floor Council Chambers in Government Center to discuss Third Quarter Budget Numbers, as the 2017 Fiscal Year is weeks away from ending. 

 

Council will also deal with a pair of Correia Administration Vetoes, including one concerning Council wishing to have its own attorney for legal opinions when the need arises, even though no mechanism has been determined for when the $20,000 sum would be tapped. 

 

Six Resolutions, including one that would redirect Streetscape funds for other purposes, will also be debated. 

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The Bridge Rededicated


A Friday Ceremony at Battleship Cove paid tribute to veterans, MassDOT and the crews and contractors who finished the Route 79 and Braga Bridge Project months ahead of schedule and under budget. 

 

The $227 million dollar endeavor was part of a Patrick Administration effort to rehab and modernize various bridges in the Commonwealth; the Braga Bridge and Route 79 project was one of the five largest efforts, as the Braga Bridge is a little over a mile long. 

 

Video and pictures from the event are available now at WSAR's Facebook page. 

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Red Sox Time Change Saturday


Saturday's game between the Rays and the Red Sox has been changed to 1:05 p.m. ET because of expected lengthy periods of rain in the Boston area from Saturday evening into Sunday, with temperatures in the 40s.

The two clubs consulted with Major League Baseball, and the three parties agreed that moving the game from its originally scheduled 7:10 p.m. ET start time would offer the best chance to get the contest in that day.

The starting pitchers for the game will remain the same, with Boston's Chris Sale slated to face Tampa Bay's Blake Snell

Those who purchased tickets to the originally scheduled game will be able to use the same tickets for the afternoon contest.

 

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The Streetscape Meetings


          Mayor Jasiel F. Correia II announces a series of public meetings at Government Center to discuss the first phase of his Streetscapes Plan. Details of the plans for specific streets will be shared and the public is invited to review and comment on plans for Purchase, Bank and East Main Street as well as the Columbia Square plan for the intersection of Columbia and South Main Streets.

 

The meeting schedule is as follows:

 

East Main Street: Wednesday, May 10

Purchase & Bank Street:  Wednesday, May 17

Columbia Square: Wednesday, May 24

 

All meetings will be held in the Atrium at 6:00 pm.

 

 

For more information, call Bill Kenny, Director of Planning at 508-324-2561

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MassDOT and Chapter 90


BOSTON – Governor Charlie Baker today signed An Act Financing Improvements to Municipal Roads and Bridges (H. 2783), authorizing $200 million in Chapter 90 transportation funds for municipalities across the Commonwealth this construction season. Chapter 90 transportation funding supports reimbursing municipalities for road-related construction projects and comes from general obligation bond issuances. Also included in the bill is $60 million to fund the Registry of Motor Vehicles’ software platform, known as ATLAS, and $30 million to reauthorize the Mobility Assistance Program (MAP). 

 

“Local transportation funding for cities and towns across Massachusetts has been a priority for our administration since the first day we took office,” said Governor Baker. “State support to repair local roads and improve safety is critical for the people, businesses, and first responders of Massachusetts. We are also pleased this legislation includes funding to continue the state’s mobility assistance program for the disabled and elderly, as well as overhaul the Registry’s software system to improve operations and customer service.” 

 

“Across the Commonwealth, local officials count on this support for important transportation improvements in their cities and towns,” said Lt. Governor Polito. “We are pleased to provide $200 million in funding again this year and thank the legislature for their collaboration to authorize these funds in time for this upcoming construction season.”

 

In total, since taking office in 2015, the Baker-Polito Administration has released $700 million in Chapter 90 infrastructure funds.

 

Chapter 90 reimburses cities and towns for costs incurred for eligible transportation projects. Cities and towns must submit receipts to the MassDOT Highway Division district in which they are located which verifies that the expenditures qualify for reimbursement under Chapter 90. The Highway Districts in turn submit these receipts to the Department of Transportation’s Fiscal Department which facilitates the reimbursements to cities and towns.

 

Chapter 90 funds must be allocated to roadway projects, such as resurfacing and related work like preliminary engineering including State Aid/Consultant Design Agreements, right-of-way acquisition, shoulders, side road approaches, landscaping and tree planting, roadside drainage, structures (including bridges), sidewalks, traffic control and service facilities, street lighting (excluding operating costs), and for such other purposes as the MassDOT may specifically authorize.

 

“I am pleased that the administration is once again able to provide this important funding to our cities and towns,” said Administration and Finance Secretary Kristen Lepore. “Chapter 90 funding is just one of the many ways that the Baker-Polito administration supports our communities through both our capital and operating budgets.”

 

“This funding underscores our administration’s commitment to work in close collaboration with municipal partners and support their economic development and infrastructure priorities,” said Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack. “We can continue to improve the quality of life in our communities and use transportation infrastructure as a tool to achieve economic goals if we continue to provide capital dollars to cities and towns and allow municipal officials to be empowered to improve their own infrastructure.”

 

The ATLAS software program will replace the increasingly outdated system known as ALARS and enable the issuance of Real ID compliant credentials, allow more online transactions for individual customers as well as business customers and government partners, and improve service delivery overall.  

 

The funding provided for MAP in this legislation will be used mainly to help Councils on Aging, Regional Transit Authorities (RTAs), and other providers purchase lift-equipped vans that will be used to transport elderly and disabled customers. MassDOT is able to combine MAP funding with federal support each year to fund 80% of the purchase price for 140 vans awarded to community and regional organizations across the Commonwealth. MAP dollars are also dedicated on an annual basis for MassDOT to provide technical assistance to RTAs and other grantees.

 

More information about the Chapter 90 Program is available by clicking here.

A list of Chapter 90 funding by municipality is available by clicking here.

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Bristol County Chamber Issues a Position on


BRISTOL COUNTY
CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
 
Voice of Business Since 1911
200 Pocasset Street, Fall River, MA 02721 • 
 
Proposed “Fair Share Assessment” on Businesses
 
In January, Gov. Charlie Baker filed his $40.5 billion FY18 state budget proposal. Included in
the proposal is a return of the former “Fair Share Assessment” on employers that was part of the
old MA Health Care reform law. However, unlike the old $295 per employee assessment, the
new version is nothing less than a money grab from small businesses.
 
As background, the original “Fair Share” regulation was established in 2006. This assessment
was never intended to be a revenue generator as it only raised about $7.5 million. Not much
revenue was needed in 2006, because “Romney Care” was federally subsidized.
 
 
The new proposal is completely different.
 
Its purpose is to fill a hole in the state budget by placing a far
greater tax burden on small and mid-sized businesses. There is nothing “fair” about it.
 
The proposed assessment is clearly intended to raise hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes
from unsuspecting Massachusetts employers who are doing the right thing by offering insurance
plans to their employees.
 
No employer can legally force or coerce 80% or more of their
employees to use a health insurance plan offered by the company. Any employer who acted in
such a manner would be either prosecuted or sued. That is why the Assessment acts as a tax.
 
The original plan would have levied a $2,000 per employee assessment on employers who do not
contribute $4,950 per full-time employee (FTE) annually, or have an 80% uptake rate for all
FTEs. The House of Representative has since put forward their FY2018 Budget with “Fair Share
Assessment” language included.
 
In order to avoid the stigma of $2,000 per employee, they left it
to an agency to determine how much and how exactly the Assessment will be triggered.
 
 
 
Now the Senate is working on their version of the FY2018 Budget. Senate President Stanley Rosenberg is
already on record stating that some kind of “Assessment on businesses” has to be done to pay for
the growing funding gap in MassHealth.
 
The new assessment is said to be needed in order to close a $600 million budget gap in the
state’s MassHealth Medicaid program. Small businesses, a majority of whom offer health
insurance plans, did not create the existing fiscal dilemma where 30% of state residents are
enrolled in MassHealth.
 
It is also worth noting that health care makes up more than 40% of
Massachusetts’ proposed $40.3 billion budget.
 
Legislators should first address the exceptionally
high cost of health care before inventing new ways to take money from businesses.
 
Please keep in mind that this Legislative Session also includes bills that if enacted would
mandate Employer Paid Family Leave, Strict Scheduling, a $15 Minimum Wage, the
Millionaire’s Tax (another tax on businesses) and further increase energy costs. All of these antibusiness
bills are supported by many legislators and are being seriously considered all at once.
 
 
It is why employers across the state are absolutely stunned to find out that the Assessment is
practically a done deal. It is hoped that this is not true.
 
In the days ahead it is hoped that State Legislators contemplate the impacts of the Assessment to
businesses. They should also balance the totality of the impacts when considering additional anti
business laws such as Employer Paid Family Leave, Strict Scheduling, and a $15 Minimum
Wage. Hopefully they can conclude that this is too much for Massachusetts businesses to absorb
at once.
 
Robert A. Mellion, Esq.
President & CEO
 

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Taunton Issues Friday


The Massachusetts Department of Transportation Highway Division District 5 will temporarily close a section of Route 140 (County Street) in Taunton for three nights beginning at 9:00 p.m., on Friday, May 5, 2017. 

Route 140 (County Street), between the Route 24 interchange and Mozzone Boulevard, will be closed from 9:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. each night on May 5, May 6 and May 7, to allow for the reconstruction of the railroad tracks. 

The section of Route 140 (County Street) impacted by construction activities is scheduled to reopen to traffic at 5:00 a.m., on May 6, May 7 and May 8. 

A temporary detour will be in place each night for all motor vehicle traffic as follows:

For traffic traveling northbound on Route 140:

  • Take Exit 11 to Stevens Street
  • Turn right and head north on Stevens Street
  • Turn left and head west on Middleboro Avenue/ Hart Street
  • Back onto Route 140 (County Street).

For traffic traveling southbound on Route 140:

  • Turn left and head east on Hart Street / Middleboro Avenue
  • Turn right and head south on Stevens Street
  • At the first set of traffic signals take a left onto Route 140 northbound
  • Or continue to the second set of traffic signals and take a left onto Route 140 southbound.

For traffic traveling northbound on Route 24:

  • Take Exit 12A onto Route 140 southbound
  • Take Exit 11A and head north on Stevens Street
  • Turn left and head west on Middleboro Avenue / Hart Street
  • Back onto Route 140 (County Street).

For traffic traveling southbound on Route 24:

  • Take Exit 12 to Route 140 (County Street)
  • Turn right onto Route 140 southbound
  • Take Exit 11A and head north on Stevens Street
  • Turn left and head west on Middleboro Avenue / Hart Street
  • Back onto Route 140 (County Street).

For traffic traveling northbound County Street:

  • Continue north to Stevens Street
  • Turn left and head west on Middleboro Avenue / Hart Street
  • Back onto Route 140 (County Street).

For traffic traveling from the Silver City Galleria Mall:

  • Turn left and head north on Stevens Street
  • Turn left and head west on Middleboro Avenue / Hart Street
  • Back onto Route 140 (County Street).

Drivers who are traveling through the affected areas should expect delays, reduce speed, and use caution.

All scheduled work is weather dependent and/or may be impacted should any sort of emergency situation occur.

 

###

 

 

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Rhode Island Governor on Wind


PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Governor Raimondo issued the following statement in response to news that the Block Island Power Company this morning transferred the island's electrical system from diesel generators to energy generated from offshore wind turbines. 


"Rhode Island has always led by example. We started America's industrial revolution and built the first textile mill in the country. Now, as Block Island transitions to wind power, we're leading again in the renewable revolution. I'm proud to be Governor of the only state with steel in the water and blades spinning over the ocean. Because of our leadership and innovation in the renewable energy sector, we are putting Rhode Islanders back to work and Rhode Island back in the game."

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MA Gas Prices This Week


Gasoline prices in Massachusetts remain the same this week according to AAA Northeast. 

AAA’s May 1 survey of prices in Massachusetts finds self-serve, regular unleaded averaging $2.32 per gallon. The Massachusetts price is seven cents below the national average for regular unleaded of $2.39. A year ago at this time, the average price in Massachusetts was 15 cents lower at $2.17.

            The range in prices in the latest AAA survey for unleaded regular is 30 cents, from a low of $2.19 to a high of $2.49. 

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More Hints More Allegations


The ongoing War of Words between the Fall River City Council President and the City's Mayor continues on the Monday Edition of ''The WSAR Newsroom'', as Cadime tells WSAR that he has been in contact with the FBI since February 2016, while Correia maintains that Cadime remains under investigation for his role in the installation of windows in the Sixth Floor of Government Center in the Summer of 2013; the ''Windowghazi'' work was done with the required paperwork, and according to Correia, is still under investigation by the Commonwealth's Inspector General. 

 

Correia repeated a call he made in a text Friday to WSAR for the Mayor to leave office; Correia tells WSAR that calls for him to resign are politically motivated, and that the Council President has an ongoing vendetta against him. 

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Organization of the Month

BKs Beacon Tavern

 

 

 

 

 

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