For Immediate Release - February 08, 2012

ONE HUNDRED MASSACHUSETTS COMMUNITIES APPLY FOR ‘COMMUNITY INNOVATION CHALLENGE’ GRANTS

Grant Program to Award $4 Million in Funding for Innovative Regionalization

BOSTON – Thursday, January 19, 2012 –Secretary of Administration and Finance Jay Gonzalez announced that one hundred communities across the Commonwealth submitted applications for regionalization and other cost saving initiatives.

“This overwhelming response shows that communities understand that our new fiscal reality demands that we find new and more efficient ways to deliver core local services,” said Secretary Gonzalez.  “With these 100 proposals, cities and towns are answering the Patrick-Murray Administration’s call to be innovative and showing us there are countless ways to collaborate and work together to maintain important local services and deliver those services effectively and efficiently.”

The proposals, submitted in response to the Patrick-Murray Administration’s Community Innovation Challenge (CIC) grant program launched in November, 2011, seek to create unique opportunities for communities to build partnerships between municipalities to engage in shared services, inter-municipal agreements, consolidations, mutual aid and regional planning to reduce the risk of duplicating efforts and spending limited taxpayer dollars unnecessarily in tough fiscal times.

In the Fiscal Year 2012 budget, Governor Patrick proposed, and the Legislature supported, a $4 million grant program to encourage and incentivize regionalization based upon the belief that the most crucial and visible interactions between government and citizen occur locally. The Patrick-Murray Administration will announce recipients of the CIC grants in February, 2012.

The applications, which spanned Massachusetts from the town of Savoy to the city of Boston, totaled over $20 million, with requests ranging from $2,000 to $500,000. Of the 100 applications, 64 were for regionalization initiatives and 34 were for individual community internal efficiencies. These proposals address many local government services and functions, including initiatives to improve municipal performance management, modernize technology to coordinate and streamline service delivery, upgrade energy efficiencies, consolidate regional schools, enhance regional service delivery, tackle regional approaches to environmental challenges, create group purchasing to leverage buying power, consolidate back-end operations and establish private-public partnerships.

The CIC grant program is another example of how the Patrick-Murray Administration has driven innovation in government to make government more effective and efficient in challenging fiscal times. The CIC grant provides incentives, such as technical assistance, training, and other one-time or transition costs for municipal leaders to work together to pursue innovative ways to deliver critical services to taxpayers more efficiently.

The Patrick-Murray Administration has a track record of success with implementing regionalization grants. Since 2008, the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security has awarded over $35 million in development grant funds involving 36 projects and about 248 communities through the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) & Regional Emergency Communication Center Support and Incentive Grant. Additionally, the Public Health District Planning Grant, through the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, has awarded federal planning grants to 11 groups of municipalities, representing a total of 113 communities serving 1.8 million residents interested in developing regional public health districts.

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