Chapter 7 of the General Laws is hereby amended by adding after section 62 the following section:-
Section 63. As used in this section the following words shall have the following meanings:-
“Rural communities”, municipalities with population densities of less than 500 persons per square mile.
The secretary shall direct all departments, commissions, offices, boards, divisions, institutions or other agencies administering grant programs to give preference to rural communities, particularly those that intend to use funds to regionalize or share services, and to grant applicants that serve rural communities.
The secretary shall direct all such agencies to identify and inform rural communities of discretionary grant programs and incentives for which rural communities wishing to regionalize or share services could benefit from preferences under this section.
The secretary shall annually, on or before July 1, report on the implementation of this section to the senate and house committees on ways and means, the joint committee on municipalities and regional government and members of the general court who represent rural communities.
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