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Hinds Secures $29.7M for Local Projects in State Capital Bill
Staff Reports,
06:36PM / Thursday, February 08, 2018
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BOSTON — State Senator Adam G. Hinds, D- Pittsfield, has been able to place $1.2 million toward design and engineering for a new North Adams public safety building, $4 million toward a Pittsfield Police station, and $500,000 toward a new roof on Clarksburg School. 
 
The funds were secured in the $29.7 million in capital spending authorizations for local projects in S. 2279, "An Act providing for capital facility repair and improvements for the Commonwealth," a bond bill engrossed by the state Senate.
 
"Securing these spending authorizations is critical for timely and much needed capital investments in our local schools, housing stock, public safety facilities and downtown infrastructure," said Hinds. 
 
The bill also includes $6 million for the Columbus Avenue Parking Garage in Pittsfield, an amount previously earmarked in a 2014 capital bill that has not been released. The entire cost of replacing the structure was pegged at $9.4 million four years ago. 
 
During its formal session the state Senate voted to authorize up to $3.65 billion in bonds for repairs and improvements of capital facilities across the commonwealth. Spending authorizations in the bill include bonds for state university and community college campus improvements, public safety and security facilities and clean energy and efficiency programs.
 
North Adams has been seeking a solution to its outdated and dilapidated public safety building for a number of years. The city is under an order by the U.S. Department of Justice to resolve the 60-year-old structure's noncompliance with the U.S. Americans with Disabilities Act. 
 
Clarksburg, last fall, rejected a $19 million renovation and rebuild of its outdated school. A group of volunteers, in cooperation with school and town officials, is hoping to rectify the most egregious building issues by providing free labor. The roof and heating system have been targeted as priority items.  
 
Hinds secured capital spending authorization for seven local infrastructure projects located in his Berkshire, Hampshire, Franklin & Hampden District:
  • $12 million for renovations at the Central Berkshire District Court in Pittsfield;
  • $6 million for the replacement of the Columbus Avenue Parking Garage in downtown Pittsfield;
  • $5 million for repairs, renovations and improvements at the Turnure Terrace housing complex in Lenox;
  • $4 million for the engineering, design and siting of a new police station in the City of Pittsfield;
  • $1.2 million for the engineering, design and siting of a new public safety facility in the City of North Adams;
  • $1 million for the construction of a new public safety complex in Heath; and
  • $500,000 for roof repairs at the Clarksburg School.
Further, S. 2279 includes authorization for the Office of the Trial Court to begin roof, masonry and window work at Pittsfield Superior Court.
 
A bond bill is different from a budget bill, as these spending authorizations are not equal to actual appropriations. Instead, spending authorizations signal to the Executive Branch that the Legislature has approved and prioritized capital spending on these projects in the state’s capital plan.
 
In addition to Hinds' local projects, S. 2279 authorizes the issuance of bonds for the improvement of capital facilities and for general government operations, including:
  • $680 million for general state facility improvements;
  • $675 million for trial court facility improvements;
  • $500 million for public safety and security facilities;
  • $475 million for state university and community college campus improvements;
  • $475 million for the University of Massachusetts system campus improvements;
  • $193.4 million for a municipal facility improvement grant program;
 
$150 million for the Accelerated Energy and Resiliency program, which develops and implements energy and water savings projects statewide; and
$85 million for the Clean Energy Investment Program to improve the energy efficiency of state-owned facilities.
 
The bill also increases previous spending authorizations for University of Massachusetts, state universities and community colleges campus facilities and increases several project control and supervision, design and construction thresholds for the Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM), to keep pace with current costs of construction in Massachusetts.
 
The bill will now be reconciled with a version recently passed by the House of Representatives.
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