Gov. Baker Thwarts Legislative Efforts to Control Federal Aid, Awards $26.3 Million to Methuen

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker blows away a fly while at a ribbon-cutting ceremony in Haverhill during November 2020. (WHAV News file photograph.)

After being thrust into the middle of a spat between legislative Democrats and Gov. Charlie Baker, Methuen and three other cities deemed hit hard by the pandemic but shortchanged on federal relief were awarded a cumulative $109 million on Friday.

Methuen is getting $26.3 million, while Chelsea receives $28.5 million; Everett, $33.3 million; and Randolph, $21 million. While House Speaker Ronald Mariano and Senate President Karen Spilka said last week they want to redirect all $5.3 billion of the state’s American Rescue Plan Act Plan money to a separate fund, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley and Sens. Edward J. Markey and Elizabeth Warren urged the immediate distribution.

“The cities of Chelsea, Everett, Methuen and Randolph have borne a disproportionate brunt of the public health and economic crisis over the past year, and today, they finally received the help they need and deserve. We are pleased that the $109 million in federal funding that we fought hard for in the American Rescue Plan, and secured a commitment for the Commonwealth to release, was distributed today so that these hard-hit communities can begin to rebuild and recover following the COVID-19 pandemic,” they said in a joint statement.

As WHAV reported first in March, Methuen officials said the city was “shortchanged” by the original federal COVID-19 aid formula.

“As authorized by the federal government, the $5.3 billion in discretionary funding does not require legislative appropriation and the administration is ready to work with municipal, nonprofit, private sector and legislative partners to invest these funds quickly,” said Baker spokeswoman Sarah Finlaw.

State House News Service contributed to this report.

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