January 15th Information &
Resource Update
Save the Date: Municipal Government Response
to COVID-19 in 495/MetroWest Panel Discussion

The Energy and Sustainable Development Committee of the 495/MetroWest Partnership invites you to a special forum as part of its series on the impact of COVID-19 on our region, Municipal Government Response to COVID-19 in 495/MetroWest. This panel discussion will focus on how municipal governments across our region have responded to the pandemic.

Our panel of municipal leaders from across our service region will address topics that include COVID protocols put in place in their municipal operations, CARES funding allocations, permitting, efforts to support the local business community, working remotely while serving the public, and next steps with vaccination now in sight. Our panel is currently in formation; panelists will be announced in the coming weeks. Attendees will have an opportunity to submit questions for panelists to address.  

This event will take place remotely via Zoom on Tuesday, February 9th at 8:30 AM; click here to register. The event is open to all interested persons, though registration is required.

The 495/MetroWest Partnership's Energy and Sustainable Development Committee focuses on issues related to land use, energy, brownfields remediation, low-impact development, broadband connectivity, placemaking, and environmental stewardship. Committee meetings and events are open to all interested participants.
Legislative Update: Governor's Actions on
Climate, Economic Development Bills

Last week, the state Legislature advanced a number of major initiatives to the Governor's desk in the closing days of the previous session. The Partnership included summaries of the Economic Development Bill, Transportation Bond Bill, and Climate Change legislation in our January 7th newsletter (which can be accessed at this link). The Governor has now acted on two of those bills:

Economic Development Bill: Signed, Portions Vetoed. The Governor has signed into law the majority of this approximately $626 million economic development and pandemic recovery package, which includes components of the Governor's "Housing Choice" legislation. However, the Governor vetoed specific provisions including:

  • Housing Development Incentive Program (HDIP) Affordability Requirement: Sections 48, 50 and 55 vetoed, which collectively would have required housing development projects benefiting from an HDIP tax credit to have at least 10 percent affordable units.

  • Rural Jobs Tax Credit: Sections 62, 106 and 113 vetoed, which would have established a new rural jobs tax credit.

  • Registration of Motor Vehicles: Section 63 vetoed, which would have required the Registry of Motor Vehicles, prior to issuing a registration for a motor vehicle, to confirm the validity and status of the applicant's driver's license and certify that the person is in compliance with applicable rules and regulations related to licensing.

  • Tenant Right of Purchase: Section 83 vetoed, which would have allowed cities and towns to adopt a "tenant right to purchase" ordinance or bylaw.

  • Eviction Record Sealing: Section 85 vetoed, which would have created a process for sealing records in eviction cases.

  • Minority and Women-Owned Enterprises in Public Construction Projects: Section 95 vetoed, which proposed to form a special commission to study the participation of minority and women-owned enterprises in public construction projects.

  • Delayed Effective Date for Housing Choice: Section 102 vetoed, which would have delayed the effective date of the Housing Choice provisions for 90 days. The Housing Choice provisions will thus take effect immediately. 

Climate Change Legislation: Vetoed. The Governor has vetoed this legislation in its entirety. Legislative leadership have indicated their intentions to take the matter up again quickly in the new session.

The Governor has until Sunday to act on the Transportation Bond Bill.
Coming Soon: SBA Shuttered Venue Operators Grant

Recent federal stimulus legislation created the Shuttered Venue Operators (SVO) grant program, a $15 billion effort to be administered by the Small Business Administration (SBA). Eligible entities will include:
  • Live venue operators or promoters
  • Theatrical producers
  • Live performing arts organization operators
  • Relevant museum operators, zoos and aquariums who meet specific criteria
  • Motion picture theater operators
  • Talent representatives, and
  • Each business entity owned by an eligible entity that also meets the eligibility requirements
Eligible applicants may qualify for SVO Grants equal to 45% of their gross earned revenue, with the maximum amount available for a single grant award of $10 million. $2 billion is reserved for eligible applications with up to 50 full-time employees. The venue must have been in operation as of February 29th, 2020. 

For entities with under 50 employees:
  • Entities who suffered a 90% or greater revenue loss between April 2020 through December 2020 due to the pandemic will be considered "First Priority;" these applications will be processed within the first 14 days of the application period
  • Entities who suffered a 70% or greater revenue loss between April 2020 through December 2020 due to the pandemic will be considered "Second Priority;" these applications will be processed within the second 14 day-block of the application period
  • Entities who suffered a 25% or greater revenue loss between April 2020 through December 2020 due to the pandemic will be considered "Third Priority;" these applications will be processed after the 28th day of the application period
The unrestricted, non-priority round open to entities of any size will begin 61 days after initial grant awards, and will be open to entities of any size who suffered a revenue loss of 25% or more.

The SBA is in the process of setting up the grant program and is not yet accepting applications; once applications open, detailed information and application materials will be posted online at this link
Your Assistance Requested: Photos of Our Region!

In the coming months, the 495/MetroWest Partnership will be re-launching our organization's website. As part of that process, we are collecting photographs of landmarks, including natural resources, from across our region!

We are putting out a request for photographs of historic buildings, public spaces and facilities, trails, bodies of water and other open spaces, or other notable landmarks from any of the 36 municipalities in our service area. These photos may be selected for use on our revamped website, as well as in other Partnership collateral. Requirements:
  • Photos must depict locations within one of our 36 cities and towns
  • We are seeking larger photos, of at least 980px by 300px (larger photos welcome!)
  • You or your organization must be the owner of the photograph, and have the authority to authorize its use by a third party

As always, please do not hesitate to reach out if the Partnership can be of any assistance to you:
Jason Palitsch, Executive Director
(774) 760-0495 x105

Thank you for your continued commitment to strengthening our region.