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President’s Message

Chris Bouchard, was elected for 2021 – 2022 

Hello Members,

I hope this letter finds everyone healthy as we still deal with COVID.

This spring and summer seemed to have rocketed by and have been busier than ever as well. We need to continue to focus and advocate for an increase to Chapter 90 funding and a multi-year package for planning and executing projects. We also need to push for an additional release from the States $5B in surplus revenue this year, now is the time to ask. As we have found out this year with price increases and shortages of goods and services, we are doing less with the funding we currently receive yet again.

The State will always have some financial reason why they say they can’t increase funding over multiple years, but it is important to point out that Chapter 90 gets spent with LOCAL INSTATE BUSINESSES that employ RESIDENTS / TAXPAYERS. This will be spent repairing the 80 percent of the road miles of infrastructure that the Cities and Towns are tasked to maintain, resulting in improved infrastructure, jobs, and tax revenue all retained in our state. This is the true way to spur our own economy and job creation in Massachusetts. We also must stress the importance of a timely release of the funds so that we may bid and award contracts early in the spring, working within the short weather window that we have in Massachusetts to get quality work completed.

One of the challenges we and contractors are struggling with is a labor shortage which will affect capacity for projects.in the coming year and increase costs. We will be having this as a topic at future events, succession, retention and recruitment planning and what we can do to help mitigate this problem.

State Auditor Bump came out with a report on Western Mass Infrastructure and how there has been inadequate support to develop and maintain it. See link for more info. See more links here.

Governor releases final 2030 Master Trash and Recycling Plan. This is going to be a hot topic for discussion as there are going to be some significant costs incurred by Cities and Towns to meet this plan that could be unattainable without significant investments in infrastructure and markets for recyclables to be used in. Right now there is not a lot of capacity for the mattress and textiles recycling mandate in 11/22.  MRF’s that accept a lot of the municipal recycling will need to change, to start accepting plastics that have been no longer accepted and will need to find markets for them, organic waste recycling will need to be grown as it does not exist in many parts of the state currently. Electric and hybrid trucks do not exist plentifully, and the ones that do are triple the cost of diesel powered ones, cold weather also affects batteries and performance. As we are coming out of the pandemic we are just beginning to see a reduction in what has been disposed due to a large percent of the population who has transitioned to working from home, ordering more online and not eating out. Now was not the time to roll this out without the resources that will be required to meet the goals of this plan. See link for more info.

I hope you had a chance to attend our Annual Meeting, Charity Golf or Driver Skills Events or the NE Public Works Expo as these were all great events after a year without them, thank you to all the committees for your hard work with these great events this year. I look forward to seeing you at our next event.

Although the work we do may seem routine to us, nothing we do is unimportant!

PUBLIC WORKS STRONG

Christopher J. Bouchard

MHA and TRI COUNTY MEETING – November 9, 2021

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