Earlier this month, Governor Charlie Baker signed into law a sweeping economic development bill that authorizes a total of $275 million in grants and bonds to support small businesses, workers, and infrastructure projects.
The Senate’s bill allowed State Senators to offer amendments to address specific issues for their districts. Cape and Islands State Senator Julian Cyr requested and received $12 million in local funding by submitting nine amendments for the Cape and Islands.
“For Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, when it comes to economic development, I will always strongly support funding programs, projects and infrastructure investments that will help our seasonal economy – including tourism, cultural attractions and protecting our beautiful natural resources – this has been the bread and butter of our economic engine for generations,” said State Senator Julian Cyr (D-Truro). “But we also need to keep investing in programs and infrastructure that will attract businesses and jobs to build a sustainable year-round economy – as that balance is the key to building a better future for our region for years to come.”
The $12 million will go towards nine amendments offered by Cyr.
Amendment #161.1 - Aviation Job Training at Cape Cod Community College (Town of Barnstable) This amendment would expend $100,000 to support Cape Cod Community College’s FAA-Certified Airframe and Powerplant Program. In 2012, Cape Cod Community College recognized the critical role that community colleges are to play in developing the workforce needed by regional employers, and worked with federal, state, local, and industry officials to develop a program that not only addresses a shortage of certified aircraft mechanics, but one that creates a pathway for a career with significant potential for advancement.
Amendment #166 – Oceanside Performing Arts Center (Town of Barnstable) - Would designate $200,000 to be used for the planning and design of Oceanside Performing Arts Center in the Town of Barnstable. Oceanside Performing Arts Center would be a regional facility to serve Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard, and Nantucket, which would stimulate economic development and promote tourism.
Amendment #169 – Mashpee Watershed Management (Town of Mashpee) The $3,250,000 in requested funds would be used to design, engineer and construct a wastewater discharge force main and related disposal site. Placement of a new wastewater discharge force main would protect the Waquoit Bay and Popponesset Bay watersheds and support reasonable economic development in the Town of Mashpee's central business district.
The upgraded sewer line and disposal beds would allow the transfer of wastewater from the treatment plant at Mashpee Commons to the southern portion of town, where a groundwater discharge will not impact either bay. The new infrastructure will enable the Town will enable compact, efficient development in the area without impacting sensitive systems that residents depend on for a water supply.
Amendment #174 – Small Business Development (Towns of Wellfleet and Provincetown)
Would designate $1,175,000 for small business, local cultural and economic development.
* $1,100,000 would be designated for the Town of Wellfleet to develop an incubator space that could be shared by up to six small businesses. Each small business would have a small interior space where they could sell their product and grow their business.
* $75,000 would be designated for the Provincetown Commons for the development of a digital media studio.
Amendment #177 – Dredging (Towns of Cotuit, Edgartown, Chatham, and Yarmouth) The 3,375,000 in requested bond authorizations would fund four dredging projects: * Cotuit ($2,000,000) for maintenance dredging of sediment in the town of Barnstable from the western end of Sampson's Island, with disposal occurring on the eastern end of Dead Neck; * Edgartown ($750,000) to obtain the use of a property within the town of Edgartown to store dredge sand and other materials in preparation for severe storm events or for other expenses incurred in connection with dredging and dredging preparation;
* Chatham ($375,000) to modify the town’s existing Comprehensive Dredge and Disposal Permit and to dredge critical shoal locations to restore navigation access and emergency response.
* Yarmouth ($250,000) for dredging of the Bass River and Parkers River coastal waterways. Amendment #251 - Mortgage Licensing Exemptions for Certain Nonprofits (Statewide)
* This amendment will protect access to housing assistance programs by creating a narrow exemption for affordable housing nonprofits from state licensing requirements for mortgage loan originators.
* Many affordable housing nonprofit organizations administer loan programs that help families buy homes, address home repair needs or lead paint remediation, prevent foreclosure, and acquire or preserve housing.
* These loans offer terms that are favorable to the borrower, in some cases loans at no interest with repayment deferred. Frequently, the nonprofit is administering loans from completely publicly-funded programs.
* Creating an exemption from mortgage loan originator licensing requirements for certain affordable housing nonprofits would re-establish in state law an exemption provided by the Division of Banks (DOB) for the past decade. Unfortunately, the DOB rescinded this exemption last year based on a reinterpretation of state law.
* Without this exemption, the low-and moderate-income households and their communities would be harmed by losing access to programs that help create and preserve affordable homes.
* This amendment was a critical priority for local community development corporations, including the Community Development Partnership in Eastham and Coastal Community Capital in Barnstable.
Amendment #260 – High Speed Internet Access (Towns of Barnstable and Provincetown)
Would designate $600,000 for high speed internet access on Cape Cod.
* $300,000 shall be expended for OpenCape Corporation to expand fiber optic cable in the village of Hyannis within the town of Barnstable; and
* $300,000 shall be expended to expand access to broadband internet in the Town of Provincetown.
Amendment #306 – Nantucket Pier & Float Repair and Cultural Center Study (Town of Nantucket)
* The Town of Nantucket Pier and floating dock suffered severe damage after the five winter nor'easters of 2018. $1,200,000 would be expended to the Town of Nantucket for the replacement of the town pier and floating dock.
* $300,000 shall be expended for the Nantucket Dreamland Foundation for study, planning, and design, and construction necessary for the expansion of the Nantucket Dreamland Foundation building on South Water Street in Nantucket. Amendment #307 – Visitor Centers (Towns of Gosnold, Oak Bluffs, and Barnstable) $1,800,000 would be expended in the following way for visitor centers:
* $300,000 expended to the Town of Gosnold for the planning, engineering, and construction of a Visitor Center at the Coast Guard Boat House.
* Would also provide $1,000,000 for Oak Bluffs to improve the welcome area and circulation plan for the ferry terminal area on the North Bluff to provide a safe drop-off and circulation plan.
* Would expend $500,000 to the Hyannis Main Street Business Improvement District for the purchase of a building to create a visitor’s center.
With the passage of the Economic Development Bill, the Environmental Bond Bill, and the State Capital Bonding Bill, Senator Cyr was able to deliver over $71 million in critical local funding for his district this session. Cyr’s office will now work with municipalities across the Cape and Islands to help them advocate for a quick release of funds by the Baker-Polito administration.