Rep. Naughton to board: Local aid appears to be safe

By Anna Burgess,

LANCASTER -- State Rep. Harold Naughton paid the town a visit Monday to night address two issues of local importance.

At the Board of Selectmen's scheduled meeting Monday night, the newly re-elected Naughton, a Clinton Democrat who represents the Twelfth Worcester District, discussed the impending administration change, as well as to congratulate two Nashoba Regional High School champion teams.

Naughton, who defeated Republican challenger Brad Wyatt to retain his seat, said he wanted to give local government a head's up regarding the outgoing Deval Patrick administration.

"Chapter 9C of the Massachusetts General Laws allows the governor to make budget cuts to certain agencies under his control, with the approval of the Legislature," Naughton said. "The ones that would impact Lancaster would be unrestricted local aid and school transportation."

This year, he said, Lancaster public school transportation was almost 87 percent funded by the state. The town also received $850,568 in local aid this year.

The state Legislature is on hiatus from formal session until Jan. 7, when the new Legislature is sworn in. For Patrick to make budget cuts, the Legislature would have to go back into formal session before then.

"The governor has already proposed cutting $25 million across the board" in local aid, Naughton said. "But he cannot cut without legislative approval -- not unless we go back into special session and give him that approval.

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