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Getting Answers: concerns over DPW funding cuts

Huntington's Department of Public Works is worried they won’t have enough money from the state to pay for things like road construction and repairing potholes.
Published: Jun. 14, 2022 at 6:00 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 14, 2022 at 6:42 PM EDT
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HUNTINGTON, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - There’s an urgent call for help in Huntington. The town’s Department of Public Works is worried they won’t have enough money from the state to pay for things like road construction and repairing potholes.

“It seems like they’re doing nothing for our roads and I just hope people take the idea that we want to fix the roads, we want to take potholes, we want to get rid of everything, but our hands are tied and 351 of us superintendents can’t convince them to get more Chapter 90 money,” said Charles Dazelle, highway superintendent for the town of Huntington.

Dazelle told Western Mass News that he has been pushing for more Chapter 90 funding from the state for their roadways over the past decade and now, his plea is growing more urgent as inflation rates rise.

“In Huntington, I used to get $169,000. Now, I get $159,000 a year and you’re talking for a mile of black top, when you shim it up and put the black top down, it’s going to be about $125,000 to $130,000 this year. We are just not going to make any progress. Coverts have doubled, fuel prices have doubled, I don’t know what the hill towns are going to do,” Dazelle added.

We asked Dazelle how much money the Huntington Department of Public Works would need to fix the road issues throughout the town and he said, “If we had $10 million, it would be a good start, but a lot of our roads are dirt roads, mud in the spring time and everything and it’s hard.”

State Representative Kelly Pease is one of the advocates that has been pushing for more Chapter 90 funding in the Bay State for years.

“The problem is that Chapter 90 money, the $200 million they give to cities and towns has been stagnant for 11 years and it’s really becoming a factor now with all the inflationary times,” Pease explained.

As for what Pease wants to see done, he noted, “I think the governor can hopefully push with the next round of ARPA money, that maybe we can get some money in there for it, but I think what really needs to happen is the constituents across the state need to reach out to the senators and put the pressure on the leadership in the House and Senate.”

We did reach out to Governor Baker’s office for comment on this matter, but have not yet heard back.