WE ARE HOMETOWN NEWS.

WEST SPRINGFIELD — State funds earmarked for improvements to the Piper Road and Monastery Avenue intersection have been cut in half from $200,000 to $100,000, as part of Gov. Maura Healey’s Chapter 9C budget cuts announced Jan. 8.

“I’m disappointed,” said Mayor William Reichelt in an email. “This is the first year in the past nine that I’ve been in this role that we have experienced 9C cuts.”

The earmark came about after state Rep. Michael Finn (D-West Springfield) asked the town if there were projects that needed funding. The $200,000 was for a project to slow traffic in the Piper Road and Monastery Avenue intersection and make it safer for pedestrians and cyclists. Improvements included “bump outs,” curb extensions which narrow the road, and extended sidewalks.

The work was completed in 2023. The town will have to look elsewhere for the missing $100,000 in funding.

“This is an extremely important project and we’ll have to find additional funds to offset the lost funding,” Reichelt said.

The project was prompted by the death in December 2022 of West Springfield resident Neely Murray, who was struck by a car while crossing Piper Road.

Healey made $375 million in midyear budget cuts because of lower-than-expected tax revenues. Many projects sponsored by local legislators across the state saw their funding halved, including several in West Springfield. The $100,000 allocated for the West Springfield Council on Aging’s fitness center and a public transportation van was cut to $50,000. Meanwhile, $50,000 for West Springfield’s 250th anniversary celebration was cut to $25,000, according to The Republican.

Town government was not the only one hit. An earmark for the West Springfield Boys & Girls Club for renovations to its early education and care center was cut from $100,000 to $50,000.

State Sen. John Velis (D-Westfield) said he was disappointed to see cuts in his district, including West Springfield.

“Under state law, the governor has unilateral authority to make reductions to the budget, a process that does not involve the legislature, to maintain a balanced budget,” Velis said. “Unfortunately, statewide programs and many organizations across the state were impacted by these reductions, which totaled $375 million. I am disappointed to learn that among the cuts announced this week included funding reductions to several programs and organizations in my district. We all understand that Massachusetts is constitutionally required to have a balanced budget, but these spending cuts are a warning shot about our financial stability, and especially, the continued financial pressures and growing costs we are facing as a result of our continued funding for the migrant crisis and our state’s emergency shelter program.”

Neighboring communities also saw cuts. In Agawam, $25,000 for handicap accessibility improvements was cut to $12,500. In Westfield, $50,000 for the Westfield Athenaeum was cut to $25,000, and $10,000 for the Amelia Park Children’s Museum was cut to $5,000.

tlederer@thereminder.com | + posts