Councillors Want Guarantee on Soundproofing for Massport Money

District 6 Councillor Giovanni Recupero
doesn’t like some of the noise he is hearing about a proposed Massport-funded
soundproofing program.

Earlier this spring, Recupero and
Councillor-At-Large Roy Avellaneda proposed that the City use $300,000 of the
$600,000 annual Massport mitigation payment to help provide soundproof windows
for residents who deal with the whoosh of jets traveling to and from Logan
Airport.

But a letter from City Manager Thomas
Ambrosino to the City Council states it might not be that easy to automatically
earmark those funds for a soundproofing program.

“I am not opposed to creating some local
grant program, operated through our Planning Department, to provide funding for
soundproofing to residents adversely impacted by airport related noise,”
Ambrosino stated. “Deciding who should qualify for such grants, and how to
prioritize areas of the City, might be a bit challenging. But, I feel with some
time, we can work out those details together in collaboration with the City
Council.”

But Ambrosino said the funding proposed by
the Council is problematic, since the annual mitigation payment cannot be

directly used for a specific program. The payment is considered a payment in
lieu of taxes by the state’s revenue department, making it a general revenue
source that is deposited into the City’s general fund.

“If the Council desires to depend upon this
Massport payment to help fund a soundproofing program at the level of $300,000
annually, it must appropriate the $300,000 separately,” Ambrosino stated. “It
can do that either in an annual Budget line item, or as an isolated appropriation
from a source such as Stabilization or Free Cash.”

Ambrosino recommended the City commit to
appropriating $300,000 for the soundproofing program from Free Cash whenever it
is available, rather than making it a permanent part of the budget.

“I can see what
the City Manager is saying, but this money comes to us direct from Massport, we
get it all the time, so why do we have to wait and put it in free cash?”
Recupero asked. “What kind of guarantee can the City Manager give us? I want
the City Manager to give us some kind of guarantee that the money will be used
for that purpose, not all of it, but a piece of it.”

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Councillors Want Guarantee on Soundproofing for Massport Money

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