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Polito and Morse discuss new relationship between city and state

Date: 2/5/2015

HOLYOKE – Mayor Alex Morse said his meeting with Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito was “welcomed news.”

Polito kicked off her “Building Stronger Communities” on Jan. 29 with a stop in Holyoke followed by a visit to Greenfield. The tour came after Gov. Charles Baker issued his first executive order, which created the Community Compact Cabinet chaired by Polito.

The order, according to a statement released by the governor’s office, “empowers Lt. Gov. Polito to be a champion for municipal issues across state government; restructures the Department of Revenue to include a new senior commissioner for the Division of Local Services, reporting directly to the commissioner; creates a Community Compact Cabinet that will work toward mutual accountability, work to reduce red tape, promote best practices and develop specific community compacts with local governments.”

These community compacts, the statement explained, “will create clear, mutual standards, expectations and accountability for both the state and municipalities as we seek to create better government for our citizens.”

Baker also released additional Chapter 90 funds – used for road improvements – which Morse called “important” to the city.

Morse said that it is important for cities and towns to have “deeper relationships” with the gubernatorial administration, something it had through Lt. Gov. Tim Murray during the Patrick Administration. He said the order Baker signed makes that relationship more formal.

In their conversation, Morse said Polito described an idea in its preliminary stages of creating an incentive plan for municipalities that would reward the ones budgeting and investing well with points that could give them an advantage when applying or state grants.

Morse said he told Polito how the Patrick Administration had helped the city with various projects and then lobbied on behalf of the Lyman Terrace project and the renovation of the Victory Theater. He also stressed the need for bridge repair in the city.

He said it was important for state officials to realize “that cities and towns can’t do everything with municipal budgets.”