READING - The town of Reading will receive $210,000 in state funding to carry out two public safety initiatives and purchase a new Council on Aging van as part of the $43.1 billion Fiscal Year 2020 state budget.

A six-member conference committee working to reconcile the differences between the House and Senate versions of the budget reached consensus this week on a compromise spending plan for the new fiscal year that began on July 1. The budget was approved by both legislative branches and sent to Governor Charlie Baker on July 22.

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading), Representative Richard M. Haggerty (D-Woburn) and Senator Jason M. Lewis (D-Winchester) noted that the budget includes a $75,000 earmark for installing pedestrian crosswalk lights on Lowell Street, and an additional $75,000 for implementing safety improvements at Reading Memorial High School. The budget also includes $60,000 for Reading to purchase a new senior van to service the town’s elderly residents.

“The town’s legislative delegation was made aware of Reading’s local priorities at the start of the budget process, and I’m pleased to see our efforts resulted in those initiatives being included in the conference committee report,” said Representative Jones. “With this funding, Reading will be able to take steps to enhance public safety at the high school and on Lowell Street, while also expanding the transportation options available to local seniors.”

“I know how important it is to make sure Reading has the tools it needs to educate children, support seniors, and improve public safety,” said Representative Haggerty. “This budget reflects my priorities well by making the largest investment ever in Chapter 70 education funds. We have also empowered MassHealth to directly negotiate with drug manufacturers so that we can help drive down the costs of prescription drugs, and we have made a substantial contribution to the state’s rainy day fund.”

“The Fiscal Year 2020 budget appropriations for Reading’s public safety and transportation infrastructure show the results of the strong state-local partnership between the State House and Town Hall,” said Senator Lewis. “I am very pleased that the House and the Senate have come together to support these important local investments.”

Governor Baker has nine days to review the budget and issue any vetoes.

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