Thanks, Maura: Belmont To Net $1.5M Increase In Local Aid For FY ’24 Via Gov. Healey’s Budget

Photo: Flush with cash, the new governor is increasing unrestricted local aid to communities

It couldn’t have come at a better time.

When newly-elected Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey filed her $55.5 billion Fiscal Year 2024 budget recommendation on March 1, it was anticipated that Bay State communities would be a beneficiary of the state’s ballooning coffer. And Belmont was not disappointed with what came down from Beacon Hill.

“Yes, it’s very good news,” said Belmont Town Administrator Patrice Garvin who presented the preliminary Chapter 70 local aid numbers for fiscal year ’24 in Healey’s proposed budget to the Select Board at its meeting on Monday, March 6.

“Looking at unrestricted general aid … the town’s receiving an additional $1.6 million over what the town received in fiscal year ’23,” said Garvin. Subtract the adjusted assessments – for instance, to the MBTA and Special Education – state aid nets out at $1.491 million for Belmont.

Garvin said her office has already commenced working with the school district, town departments and chairs of boards to “figure out how this is going to impact the amount of free cash we use in the FY ’24 budget.” That process will be discussed at the Select Board’s joint meeting with the Warrant Committee on March 20.

This new infusion of revenue from the state comes as Belmont and its schools are facing difficult fiscal choices in the coming months. In the latest version of the town’s FY 2024 operating budget presented at Budget Summit 5 in February, the school district was facing approximately $2.1 million in cuts – which would result in cutting 28 FTEs – from its proposed ’24 budget while town departments would see the fourth year of no growth in spending.

While much of the focus for the new revenue is squarely on needs in fiscal ’24, Select Board Chair Mark Paolillo noted the school district is undergoing a historic rise in Special Education related out-of-district placement expenditures, resulting in the district’s FY ’23 budget projections falling from a $140,000 surplus to a $890,000 deficit.

“The ’24 budget has to be recast” based on the exploding special education costs, said Paolillo.

Looking further afield, Galvin said the town will need to determine how the $1.5 million will impact the fiscal ’25 budget. “We’re going to have to be careful. We’re not going to project our state aid increasing in fiscal ’25 by 13 percent,” said Galvin.

But all in all, the jump in aid is being warmly greeted by Belmont officials.

“This is a good news story, so far,” said Paolillo.

“More is better than less,” said board member Adam Dash.

After Dream Start, Belmont Boys’ Hockey Brought Back To Reality By Xaverian, 5-2, In Div. 1 Tourney

Photo: Belmont High sophomore forward Adam Bauer celebrates his goal 31 seconds into the playoff contest with Xaverian Bros, March 5, 2023 in Canton

The Belmont High Boys’ Hockey coaching staff could not have drawn up a more perfect start to its MIAA tourney matchup against Xaverian Brothers High School. A spot-on pass by senior forward Cam Fici allowed sophomore forward Adam Bauer the space to rocket the first shot of the game past Hawks’ junior goalie Cole Pouliot-Porter giving the Marauders a dream start just 31 seconds into its Sweet 16 contest played Sunday afternoon, March 5 in Canton.

But the reality of a one-zip code team battling a regional all-star squad soon became apparent as Xaverian would pull even two minutes later and take the lead by the end of the first period. And despite a late charge by Belmont in the final stanza, the Hawks scored twice in the last 10 minutes to pick up the 5-2 victory, eliminating the Marauders from the Division 1 tournament for the second year running.

Belmont ends the season at 14-7-3.

For Belmont’s Head Coach Tim Foley, his team had a lot to be proud on their performance Sunday.

“We played hard but they have a little more depth and had their share of good bounces here and there,” said Foley. “But we don’t make excuses. We can compete with anybody; we’re talented enough, we’re strong enough and good enough. We just came out on the wrong end of the final score.”

“My father would say you have two choices: ‘you can accept the challenge in front of you or you can fold up like an accordion’ and I didn’t see any accordions out on the ice today,” said Foley.

After playing a near flawless game in the first round shutout of Chelmsford – a team which beat Xaverian, 3-1, in late January – and going up early, Foley said Xaverian “came hard at us and the harder that you work the more opportunities you make for yourself.”

During the first period, Belmont was victimized by two goals that came after Marauder miscues. After Belmont failed to clear its zone, the Hawks’ senior Joe Di Martino slotted a low wrister across Belmont senior goalie Greg Federico and inside the right post to knot the contest up. At the midpoint of the period, a loose puck was not picked up by Belmont, leaving it up for third line sophomore Jackson Morse to handcuff Federico.

One the other end of the ledger, Bauer came close to doubling his goal tally tipping a shot that forced a right pad save from Pouliot-Porter while his counter part Federico stoned a clear break to keep the margin at one at the end of the first.

Soon after taking a two goal lead early in the second, Xaverian transitioned from playing the puck to punishing to body. Late hits, stray elbows, chirping from the bench, piling into Federico’s crease – with the expected retaliatory cross check – and the usual collection of cheap shots associated with the nasties.

“It’s the way they play,” said Foley. “They play a very chippy game and it’s not always clean.”

When the refs began cracking down on the argie bargie, it was usually one from each team heading to the box – the Hawks collected nine penalties including one 10 minute misconduct as Belmont took eight bookings – not providing Belmont the advantage those who are assaulted should expect. The Hawks’ rockum’ sockum’ tactics had its desired impact on the game, destroying any sense of rhythm on the ice and wearing down the battered Belmont players.

“They tried to keep us off our game and we kind of fell into it a little bit,” said Foley. “We have a lot of physically tough players … and we certainly were not going to back down from a challenge.”

The first minutes of the third provided the Marauders with a semblance of hope as senior defender Joe Gaziano took a back pass from Bauer and beat Pouliot-Porter with a classy backhander 90 seconds into the final frame to reduce the deficit to one, 3-2.

But that late lifeline was cut a minute and a half later by the prettiest goal of the early afternoon; a pass deep to the left side of Frederico, followed by a quick one timer to senior Liam Capplis sitting all alone out in front in the slot and, well, that was that. 4-2. The final nail came was driven in five and a half left in a solid season. Despite the score, Belmont would not stop looking for that next goal, with Fici being denied a final goal in his stellar career when his snap shot clanged off the post in the final 10 seconds.

While the team understandably took their time leaving the locker room – nine seniors for the final time – before their long ride home, Foley said the players accomplished much in a season with one of the toughest schedules in program history, playing 10 of the top 20 Division 1 teams.

“We certainly came out competitive in almost every game. The kids were battle tested [playing the schedule] and we did it for games like these. I’m very proud of the team, proud of how hard they worked in practice everyday,” said Foley.

There will be quite a bit of rebuilding for next year’s team, replacing three of four top line defenders – Gaziano, co-captain Peter Grace and Theo Martin – a varsity goalie and the squad’s two leading scorers in Fici and co-captain Shay Donahue. Yet Foley said there appears to be a good-size talent pool of new high school players on the way, with a great deal to live up to.

“The seniors that are leaving certainly had a great career over the last four years,” said Foley. “They’re leaving a good message and a good work ethic behind for the younger kids. So I think the future is bright.”

What’s Up With The Rink: Public Meeting Thursday, Tours Of The Skip This Week, How Much Will New Rink Cost Taxpayers

Photo: The first look of the new rink

With less than a month before the vote to determine the future of a new Belmont Rink & Sports Facility, supporters are ramping up events to help convince voters to support a new 40,313 sq-ft skating rink/recreation center at the location of the existing rink.

Public Meeting This Thursday

On Thursday, March 9 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., the Municipal Skating Rink Building Committee is hosting a hybrid public forum to update the public on conceptual plans for the new rink/recreation facility to be constructed on the site of the ‘Skip’ adjacent Harris Field.

Discussion will include conceptual design, current costing, energy utilization and year-round facility programming. Speaking will be architect Ted Galante and members of the Building Committee.

The meeting will take place on the third floor, Art Gallery, in the Homer Building in the Town Hall complex or via Zoom to learn more about the project and for an opportunity to provide the public feedback.

Trips of the ‘Skip’

Wondering why people are saying Belmont needs a brand new rink/recreation center? Can’t the existing facility be rehabbed? Put a new coat of paint on it? This weekend is your chance to see “why” a new rink the only solution.

Yes for the Rink, the voluntary campaign spearheading the effort to bring a new rink to Belmont, will be holding tours of the ‘Skip’ – the existing ‘Skip’ Viglirolo Skating Rink – to highlight the dilapidated condition of the half-century old building.

Tours are taking place:

  • Saturday, March 11; 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, March 12; between 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.

How Much Will An Average Homeowner Pay For A New Rink

Belmont Town Treasurer Floyd Carman this week has released the calculations on the cost to the “average” homeowner if voters approve the debt exclusion for a new rink at the April 4 Town Election. With a current net price-tag of $28.6 million – the $29.9 million construction cost minus $1.3 million in fundraising money – the owner of an average single family house, currently valued at $1.4 million – would see their residential tax increase $248 per year over the 30 years of the debt exclusion.

A Round Of Golf … In The Belmont Public Library? Come By On March 10, 11 For A Quick 18

Photo: Putt and Pints this weekend

New England winters are long and cold. Sometimes you just need something “new” to do. Well, the Friends of the Belmont Public Library has come up with just the solution as the non-profit is hosting a pair of mini golf event … indoors! That’s right, for two days in March, you can swing a golf club in the Belmont Public Library (the building IS coming down this fall). On top of the putting, there will be beer and snacks available on Friday!

As part of the Friends 50th Anniversary celebration, the non-profit support group of the library are offering two days of mini golf: Friday, March 10, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. for adults ($15) and Saturday, March 11, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for families and friends, all for free.

Whether you are a regular on the links, or have never swung a club, this weekend is for you. It’s likely you never had a round of golf in a library, put it on your calendar.

Belmont HS PAC Presents The Musical ‘Mean Girls’ March 16-18

Photo: “Mean Girls” is coming to Belmont

The Belmont High School Performing Arts Company presents the High School version of the hit Broadway musical “Mean Girls.”

The hit 2004 film and 2018 Broadway Musical comes to the Belmont High School stage. With music by Jeff Richmond, lyrics by Nell Benjamin, and a book by Tina Fey, the iconic characters and lines from the movie are paired with original music and a story about finding your way in the High School jungle.

Performances will take place at the Belmont High School auditorium on:

  • THURSDAY, March 16, 7 p.m.
  • FRIDAY, March 17, 7 p.m.
  • SATURDAY, March 18 at 2 p.m. matinee and 7 p.m.



BHS STUDENTS: $5 Thu/Sat Matinee, $10 Fri/Sat 7pm

Purchase Tickets and for more information go to

CONTENT WARNING: Mean Girls contains adult themes, strong language and depictions of mature situations that may not be appropriate for all audiences. The show is recommended for ages 6th grade and up. The musical is based on the 2004 film “Mean Girls” and while the Mean Girls High School Version script contains some revisions from the movie and the original Broadway Musical, it follows the plot of the film faithfully, with much of the original dialogue and scenes included. Parents of younger children are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the movie or musical soundtrack before purchasing tickets. While Mean Girls contains mature content, it also provides an opportunity for meaningful dialogue about healthy vs. unhealthy friendships, social media, bullying and other important topics that adolescents face on a daily basis. We have engaged in these conversations during the rehearsal process, and hope the show will invite audience members to do the same.

Complete Team Victory As Belmont High Boys’ Hockey Sweep Aside Chelmsford, 4-0, In D1 Tourney First Round

Photo: Belmont High’s Peter Grace, with the C on his jersey, celebrates with his teammates the 4-0 victory over Chelmsford in the first round of the 2022-3 MIAA Div. 1 Hockey State Championships.

Not a bad way to close the doors to the ol’ Skip.

In the final scholastic game to be played in the venerable – but completely dilapidated – Skip Viglirolo Ice Skating Rink, the Belmont High Boys’ Ice Hockey squad sent the home fans of the near sell out crowd happy as the entire lineup of 10th-ranked Marauders did Yeoman’s work sweeping aside a strong Chelmsford squad in the first round of the Division 1 state championship on Thursday, March 2.

Belmont dominated all parts of the game, controlling the pace of play with a stout defense and free flowing offense keeping the Lions caged in their end for the 45 minutes, making for a long night for Chelmsford sophomore tender Mark Bierwirth (40 saves on 44 shots).

Player of the Match was senior defender and co-captain Peter Grace who scored the brace from distance and teamed with his long-time line-mate senior co-captain Joseph Gaziano to prove again they are one of the best D pairing in the state. The three defensive lines limited the Lions’ opportunity to challenge Belmont senior goalie Greg Federico who made 14 saves Thursday night.

“It was a solid game from the whole team,” said Belmont Head Coach Tim Foley.

The Marauders are off to Canton on Sunday, March 4, for a noon time face off in a Sweet 16 matchup with 7th-ranked Xaverian Brothers High School, a rematch of last year’s Elite Eight battle where the Marauders’ were eliminated in a 2-1 heart breaker.

Belmont took the game straight to Chelmsford scoring three and a half minutes in the first as junior defender Ryan Halloran shot got through a Shay Donahue screen. Chelmsford could not generate an offense to strike back as the Belmont put up a wall on the Lions blue line; on four consecutive break outs, Chelmsford clearing pass was intercepted at the line and sent back behind the net.

“All three lines played the system well of forechecking well, kept our structure and hemmed Chelmsford in their zone which is a good, hardworking team,” said Foley. “Our game plan was to wear them down and it worked.”

The first eight minutes of the second stanza witnessed a continuous march of Marauders into the penalty box with the Lions skating 5-3 for nearly three minutes. But the defense along with senior forward Cam Fici were rock solid on the penalty kill, ending the deficit even in shots on net at one.

Back at even strength, it was four-year starter Grace who doubled Belmont’s lead with a rocket from the left circle that clanged off the crossbar and in.

It wouldn’t be a Belmont game if there wasn’t a Fici goal, and the fan base was not disappointed as the Marauders’ sniper snapped the goal in from the left circle early in third. Unlike when Chelmsford held a two-man advantage, Belmont was like a cat with a cornered mouse; you knew how this was going to end: Grace walking in and burying the puck by Bierwirth to finish the scoring.

Belmont High Girls’ Hockey Tripped Up By Malden Catholic, 4-1, In First Round Of D2 Tourney

Photo: Belmont Lola Rocci (4) reacts to the Marauders’ tie the game vs. Malden Catholic

After being in the wilderness since its last tournament appearance in 2018, Belmont High Girls’ Hockey’s return to the MIAA Division 2 playoffs was a short one as the Marauders fell short against a quick team from Malden Catholic, 4-1, in a first round matchup on Wednesday night, March 1, held in Malden’s Valley Rink.

While more than holding their own against the team that beat Belmont, 4-3, earlier in the season, Malden Catholic were just a step faster on both ends of the rink, taking a 2-1 lead late in the second period on a freakish goal where the puck wobble its way through Belmont four-year starting goalie Bridget Gray’s stick and pads.

“Unfortunately our MO has been playing from behind in the third period all season,” said Belmont Head Coach Ken Murphy. “You can do that right up until you can’t, because you’re gonna come up short one time and tonight was that night.”

“They played as hard as they could tonight and they played so they would be in the right place where they would get the shot to tie it up. But it just didn’t go our away tonight.”

Belmont’s Bridget Gray with one of her 30 save in the playoff game vs Malden Catholic.

Gray – who would end with 30 saves adding to her more than 2,000 career saves – was her stellar solid self in the first period as the Lancers held the slight edge keeping Belmont’s first line defenders Katyla Pisuk and Alex Townsend busy. The Marauders’ had the better chances to break the deadlock with a pair of Mackenzie Clarke solo rushes against Malden Catholic’s goalie Daniella DeJon, the second a clear breakaway. Clarke’s wrister barely missed the left post, which the first-year left wing slammed her stick in frustration. Just before the period ended, Belmont’s Charlotte Wright came close on the near side left post followed by an open shot from forward Sadie Taylor on the same shift.

The Lancers took the lead midway through the second all with their speed, intercepting a clearing pass that resulted in a Samantha Crowley in close shot that beat Gray. It took Belmont only two minutes to knot it up with a long-distance blast from Pisuk, assists from Mia Taylor and Euey Long. It appeared that the game would enter the third tied but then came the wafflier from Alyssa Jankowski that lucked its way into the net.

Less than five minutes into the final period, MC put the game on ice as Mikayla Holland snapped a shot from a face-off that found the net by Gray’s right pad. Jankowski would earn the brace with an open netter in the final minute.

“That they put every effort they can into it,” said Murphy. “And they did. So we’re happy with what they did. We wish we went a little further, but all in all, I think they had a good season.”

With the loss of a handful of seniors, Murphy’s young team will have valuable playoff experience when they regroup in November.

“We have an exciting, fast group of freshmen coming up. We will have to fill in on defense [especially with the Gray graduating in June] but even with that need, Belmont has a good program coming next season,” said Murphy.