New England News

wikipedia.org

Connecticut's two tribal casinos reported flat or declining slot machine revenue and reduced slot machine bets in May. The state’s two casinos continue a long-running slide in revenue as gamblers seek numerous alternatives in the Northeast.

wikipedia.org

The Williamstown Select Board has decided to bring a Williams College graduate back to the area as the next town manager.

wikipedia.org

An advisory opinion Monday from the state’s highest court said a move by the Massachusetts Senate to include an income tax rate freeze in the next state budget does not run afoul of the state constitution.

The opinion by the State Supreme Judicial Court sets up the potential for a major stumbling block as a House-Senate conference committee attempts to produce a new state budget.

Republican Senator Don Humason of Westfield said an on time budget appears unlikely.

With the first Massachusetts casino scheduled to open next week industry regulators have authorized a program to help problem gamblers help themselves.

A voluntary self-exclusion program allows people to ban themselves from Massachusetts casinos. The bans can range from six months to life.  Names and photographs of people who sign up for the program will be sent to security at the casinos.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission is also piloting a first-in-the-nation program that allows gamblers to set voluntary limits on how much they wager. 

It is approaching crunch time for municipal budgets in Massachusetts where the fiscal year ends June 30th.  A new budget to run the state’s third-largest city is expected to be finalized later today.

The Springfield City Council has scheduled a special meeting Monday evening to vote on a budget for fiscal year 2016, which starts on July 1st.

As the summer recreation season begins, a program has begun to sample water at various places along the Connecticut River and test it for pathogens that could make people sick.  The program is managed by the Connecticut River Watershed Council.   WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill spoke with River Steward Andrea Donlon.

Water sampling test results are available at http://www.connecticutriver.us/

Jim Levulis / WAMC

A collaborative artist workspace recently celebrated its grand opening in downtown North Adams, a city intent on capitalizing on the creative economy.

WAMC

The city council in Springfield, Massachusetts has scheduled a special meeting Monday to vote on a new budget.

The council has held three public hearings on the $595 million budget proposed last month by Mayor Domenic Sarno.  At the hearings, councilors heard from the directors of the city’s 35 departments and agencies. 

Sarno said he is proud of the budget which maintains core services, avoids layoffs, hires additional police and firefighters and does not touch the city’s cash reserves.

WAMC

A brand new bookmobile will be traveling through a western Massachusetts city this summer.

The city of Chicopee unveiled a new $75,000 bookmobile and announced a two-week rolling schedule of stops starting June 29th. 

Library director Nancy Contois said it is Chicopee’s first bookmobile, and currently the only one in western Massachusetts.  Scheduled stops include parks, apartment complexes, and the farmers’ market.

"This gives us the opportunity to bring our library services out to where our public is," she said.

The second largest public school system in Massachusetts will operate with a $346 million budget in the next school year, a 2.4 percent increase over what the Springfield schools spent this year.

The Springfield School Committee approved the new budget that avoids teacher layoffs and counts on energy savings and other cost cutting, according to Superintendent of Schools Dan Warwick.

" We have really worked hard to make cuts and look for efficiencies far away from the classrooms," he said.

Pages