City to Receive an Additional $9 Million in Direct State Aid

The City of Cambridge will receive greater than $9 million more in direct state aid than it did last year, figures released this week by the state Department of Revenue show.

Coupled with a decrease of $750,000 in municipal fees charged by the state, Cambridge will have an additional $10 million to spend in fiscal year 1983.

"We're quite pleased with the figures," City Manager Robert W. Healy said yesterday. He added that Governor Edward J. King and the legislature were making up for losses suffered by some cities and towns such as Cambridge during the past two years due to low state aid receipts.

These losses were particularly acute last year when coupled with the first year of tax cuts stemming from the Proposition 2 1/2 referendum.

Despite early threats by King, the state aid package does not penalize Cambridge for overriding this year's second round of Proposition 2 1/2 mandated property tax reductions.

Healy said that $3.2 million in additional aid has already been figured into the city budget which the city council passed last month. That leaves approximately $7 million still to be spent, but Healy added that money could disappear quickly.

The bulk of the extra funds could go towards salary increases for the city's union workers. Healy, who will be negotiating with most of the municipal employee unions during the summer, said the additional aid could make bargaining tougher. "They [the unions] read the papers too, and they'll figure with all this extra money, I should give them a new pay raise," he added.

Healy said part of the state aid could be used to replace worn out capital equipment such as police cars, and to repave sidewalks and roads. He said he would also like to use some of the money to create a "stabilization fund" to guard against possible future financial setbacks for the city.

Cambridge faces the loss of more than $8 million in tax receipts in fiscal 1984 should residents fail to back another override referendum like the one they approved last April. That action saved the city $10.2 million and prevented numerous city employees from losing their jobs.