Weekly Check-in: Friday, March 27, 2020

Advisory Board staff will be reaching out to our designees and community leaders with weekly updates. This will take the place of our monthly News and Notes for now. Here is a brief look at what’s happening at the federal, state, Authority, and Advisory Board levels:

  • Federal
    • The federal stimulus bill includes $150 billion for state and local governments. We are still waiting for the details on how these funds will be distributed and used.
    • The National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) had been urging Congress to include $12.5 billion in the stimulus in order to help public water utilities weather the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • Utilities are providing essential clean water services to the public at a time when revenue is falling and many utility employees must continue to show up for work.
    • The $12.5 billion is a conservative estimate for the nationwide loss of revenue in clean water utilities due to COVID-19.
    • You can find the full statement from NACWA here.
  • State
    • While many municipalities have suspended construction projects for the time being, Governor Baker wants most projects to continue.
    • In this Boston Globe article (paywall), the Administration classifies state projects through DOT and MassPort as essential, despite concerns about construction workers being in close proximity to each other and potentially spreading COVID-19.
    • Inconsistent rules between jobs and communities have made the situation confusing for construction workers, who are seeking clearer guidance on the issue. Statewide guidance is expected to be delivered soon.
  • MWRA
    • MWRA Executive Director Fred Laskey sent an email to all Authority employees on March 24th with an update.
    • The Authority continues to provide essential services for three million Massachusetts residents amidst the pandemic, as it has been thorough about safety protocols, regularly sanitizing facilities, and having as many employees telework as possible.
    • The MWRA donated 6,000 N95 masks to MEMA to assist in emergency efforts.
  • Advisory Board
    • Advisory Board staff is working remotely and is coordinating with Authority staff to continue budget review briefings on a remote basis. Coming up are the Operations Division proposed FY21 CEB briefing and a look at the proposed FY21 CIP.
    • Please note: you are welcome to comment on the MWRA’s proposed FY21 budget until May 21, 2020.
    • Staff will organize remote Executive Committee and Advisory Board meetings for the month of April. Stay tuned for details.

Please let us know if you have any comments or questions. Staff is always available by email or office phone. Thank you, and stay safe.