By Christopher Roberson
While helping to build the $41.8 billion state budget for fiscal year 2019, State Representative Bradley Jones and State Senator Brendan Crighton were able to include $50,000 for “a coordinator for a new substance abuse committee.”
“I’m pleased Sen. Crighton and I were able to work together to secure this critical funding piece in the state budget for Lynnfield,” Jones said in a written statement. “This money will enhance Lynnfield’s efforts to address the public health threat posed by substance abuse, while the additional local aid funding will help the town continue to provide many essential municipal services that benefit all residents.”
Crighton also highlighted the importance of having a substance abuse–prevention coordinator in town. “Substance abuse is an issue that touches families throughout the Commonwealth,” he said. “I’m proud to join with [House Minority] Leader Jones to advocate for this important initiative and look forward to continuing our collaborative work with the Lynnfield community.”
Town Administrator Robert Dolan said the $50,000 allocation is “needed and appreciated.”
“Like all communities, Lynnfield has not been immune to the opioid crisis. Our state delegation has shown once again that the town has great partners in fighting this epidemic,” he said. “We have seen firsthand, through the Healthy Lynnfield coalition, citizens of all ages, clergy, educators, law enforcement and town leaders unified in educating citizens and helping those that need help in this nationwide struggle.”
The town is also slated to receive $4.3 million in education funding under Chapter 70 as well as $1 million in unrestricted state aid.
Municipal police training
In addition, Jones and Crighton recently pledged their support for House Bill 4516 to “provide ongoing funding support for municipal police training.” The bill was approved by the House of Representatives by a vote of 149-4 on May 23. It was then passed in the Senate by a vote of 36-0 on July 18. Lawmakers have sent the bill to Governor Charlie Baker for his signature.
Part of House Bill 4516 calls for a $2 surcharge on car rentals, which would take effect on Jan. 1, 2019. Each surcharge would go towards funding for training police recruits as well as seasoned officers. The new revenue stream is projected to produce $8 million for the Municipal Police Training Fund.
Car rentals that last less than 12 hours will be exempt from the surcharge as well as vehicles used by companies such as Lyft and Uber.
“This is a long overdue bill that will help support critical training programs for police officers in Massachusetts,” said Jones. “Creating a dedicated revenue stream to fund this training will also help to ease the financial burden on communities like Lynnfield that currently have to shoulder these costs.”
Crighton said that “over the years” there has been outcry from a number of police departments to bolster officer training. “I’m pleased that through this dedicated revenue source, we can adequately fund the training that helps keep both our police and communities safe,” he said.