By: State Auditor Diana DiZoglio
Hello Valley Patriot Readers,
Within the Office of the State Auditor is the Division of Local Mandates (DLM), a critical resource for our cities and towns.
DLM was established in 1980 under the property tax limit initiative known as Proposition 2 ½. The DLM team assists in determining whether state laws, rules, and regulations fall within the scope of the Local Mandate Law, which was created to address local officials’ concerns about the State Legislature enacting laws requiring local action without providing the necessary funds to cover the associated costs.
Although many state mandates are crafted to address important statewide concerns, the Local Mandate Law ensures that unfunded mandates do not pose unfair financial or administrative challenges for local governments. If a city or town believes that a state law, regulation, or rule is imposed upon them without adequate funding, they can request a mandate determination. If it is determined that an unfunded mandate exists, DLM provides an analysis of the municipal financial impact.
The Massachusetts General Laws allow DLM to examine any state law or regulation that has a significant local cost impact, regardless of whether it is an unfunded mandate. Because of this law, DLM also releases reports known as “municipal impact studies” or “6B reports” that examine various aspects of state law affecting municipal finances, which include recommendations that are designed to make government work better.
Over the years, DLM has issued reports on many topics, including public infrastructure, regional school districts and municipal police in-service training, educational services for students in foster care and state care, and property tax exemptions for senior citizens.
DLM also plays a role in election cost certifications by ensuring that all 351 communities are timely surveyed to accurately determine election costs eligible for reimbursement. Cost certification ensures that millions of dollars are returned to cities and towns to cover election-related expenses.
Based on this certification, the Secretary of the Commonwealth provides funding to cities and towns to offset expenses.
If you have any questions for DLM – we welcome you to reach out to the Director of the Division of Local Mandates, Jana DiNatale, at 857-242-5399. And as always, feel free to contact my office with questions anytime via email at email@example.com or by phone at (617) 727-2075. If you’re ever in the State House, I hope you’ll stop by and visit our team in room 230!
Yours in service,