Entries by Daniel O'Leary

How does the Commonwealth Pay for Roads?

Maintaining, safe, efficient public infrastructure challenges local, state and federal governments alike. Communities need to build new core public assets to support growing populations while maintaining those that are aging. Accomplishing those goals eats into local public works budgets. The Commonwealth provides funding to localities which help alleviate the burden cities and towns face. Routinely, the legislature provides $200 Million dollars in Chapter 90 funding. This funding is a mainstay in local budgets and helps cities and towns pay for road resurfacing as well as new road construction. Pioneer Institute has previously written about the differences in public works expenditures across the Gateway Cities. There, Pioneer found that Peabody spends significantly more than any other Gateway City on public works. […]

Andover’s OPEB Lawsuit could have Implications for Towns Across the State

The Town of Andover has taken significant steps to decrease its future financial obligations. Like other towns across the Commonwealth, Andover faces a number of financial pressures, including the impact of municipal employee retirement obligations. Unlike many towns, Andover has made the tough decisions necessary to reduce the amount it will pay for retiree healthcare. Specifically, Andover has moved to increase retirees’ contributions towards their healthcare premiums.

What has Andover Done?

In Massachusetts, once an employee has worked for local government for 10 years, […]

What can be learned from the Commonwealth’s new 9-1-1 system?

The State 9-1-1 Department recently finished building an enhanced 9-1-1 system that migrates state 9-1-1 call centers to the new Next Generation system, which features many improvements. For instance, the Next Generation 9-1-1 system lets people send more information to 9-1-1 operators, including GPS location data. This is a great leap forward for public safety in Massachusetts.   The Department of Telecommunications and Cable charges every phone line in Massachusetts a fee to support Massachusetts’ 911 system. The State 9-1-1 Department asked for the fee to be increased to pay for this project. For the first year the project was underway the DTC charged every phone line $1.25 per month; since July 2016 the monthly fee has been $1.00. Prior […]

Which Cape Cod Town has the Best Summertime Revenue Take?

The towns of the Cape and Islands have economies built around summer tourism. The allure of vast shorelines and beautiful public beaches swell the population in the warmer months; the result – beach sticker fee income abounds. Whether it’s from beach revenue, greens fees or shellfish permits, the seasonal revenue means fewer property taxes are needed to cover the cost of services.  So which Cape town has the best take when it comes to the summertime revenue boom? Broadly speaking MassAnalysis.com can answer the question.  The revenue category “Licenses, Permits, and Fees” includes this kind of income. An analysis shows that in 2015, towns in the Cape and Islands took in an average of $99.19 per capita from licenses, permits, […]

Where Does Your Community Stand: Using MassAnalysis to Compare Weston to Peer Towns

We can all learn a lot about our own behavior by watching the actions of our peers. The same concept can be applied to municipalities. Pioneer Institute’s MassAnalysis tools allows the public to do exactly that, compare their town or city to others like it across the Commonwealth. The free online tool allows up to 25 peer municipalities to be generated based on an assortment of metrics (population, income, etc.) selected by the user. From there, the user can compare his or her own town’s financial and other data to towns like it. For example, consider the Town of Weston. Using the metric of per capita income, MassAnalysis can identify the 25 towns most similar to Weston in terms of […]