City Council opposes use of budget amendments to rush changes into law
The Waltham City Council has unanimously passed a resolution asking its legislators to seek “ample time” for local authorities to review and comment on proposed changes to the laws governing disposition of state surplus lands. The amendment also asks Waltham legislators to oppose the efforts to pass new land disposition laws in ways that avoid the “regular legislative process”.
Earlier in the year, several attempts were made in the House of Representatives to reauthorize expedited sales of state surplus property by attaching language to the budget, but none of the measures was adopted. However an “outside section” was added to the Senate budget that would continue the expedited sales (See other articles on Section 86). This approach allows major laws to be passed without a roll call vote on the specific measure in question.
The City of Waltham has several state-owned parcels that might be sold as surplus, including the 200-acre Fernald Development Center. The amendment was sponsored by city councilors George Darcy and Stephen Rourke and was adopted by unanimous vote on May 23. (See text below)
[Resolution adopted by Waltham City Council on 5/23/05]
City of Waltham, Massachusetts
Concerning Reworking Chapter 7 Laws
Dealing with Surplus State Public Land
May 23, 2005
WHEREAS… Our State Legislature is considering reworking Chapter 7 Laws dealing with the disposition of surplus state public lands, and
WHEREAS… Outside Section 548 (which currently governs this disposition process) will expire in June of 2005, and
WHEREAS… Waltham, like other communities in the Commonwealth, has many valuable parcels of state public land, and
WHEREAS… Public parcels have not been taxed and have benefited from local police, fire, and other local emergency services for many years, and
WHEREAS… The local municipalities in which these parcels reside are in fact the most deeply affected by any surplus decisions.
BE IT RESOLVED… That the City Council respectfully requests its state legislators to allow the Waltham City Council, the Mayor, the Planning Board, the Housing Department, the Conservation Board, and other relevant boards and commissions ample time to comment on, and provide public input to, any proposed changes to Chapter 7 laws dealing with the disposition of our state public lands.
AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED… That the City Council further requests that its state legislators oppose any effort to regulate state-owned public lands through outside sections of the state budget, and support efforts to amend Chapter 7 through the regular legislative process.
Read and adopted
Attest: Rosario C. Malone, City Clerk
Councillor George A. Darcy III
Councillor Stephen Rourke