Financial Services

Regionalization of Assessment Services

  • Towns of Amherst and Pelham
  • $35,000
  • Funds will be used to create a joint tax assessing program between the two towns which have a history of cooperation and use of services.  Currently, Pelham has a need for assessment services and Amherst has a professional assessing staff that can provide these services, along with a sophisticated information technology department.  Pelham recently lost its part time clerical assistant in the assessing department, and it is difficult to get appraisers due to the distance from other communities.  The memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the two communities would allow Amherst to provide professional assessing services to Pelham and would establish office hours in Pelham staffed by Amherst assessing staff.  It would also establish a self-service kiosk in Pelham so that appraisers, insurance agents, realtors and others could access the information when the office is not staffed.

 

Education

Creating in District Programs for Students with Severe Emotional and Behavioral Disorders

  • Agawam, East Longmeadow, Longmeadow, Ludlow, West Springfield; Hampden-Wilbraham Regional School District; Southwick-Tolland-Granville Regional School District
  • $110,800
  • This project will allow school districts, working with an education collaborative, to pool resources to meet the needs of students with severe emotional and behavioral disorders.  The project will increase the capacity of public schools to meet the needs of students with severe emotional and behavioral disorders and coordinate the crisis and behavioral intervention services to support students in their public school placements.  The project will fund start-up costs associated with developing an in-district therapeutic program for elementary-aged children.  It will be located in Agawam and available to all seven districts that are members of the Lower Pioneer Valley Education Collaborative.

 

Regionalizing Technology Support Services

  • Towns of Richmond, New Ashford, and Hancock, Shaker Mountain School Union #70
  • $52,037
  • Shaker Mountain Union #70 is comprised of the school districts of the Towns of Richmond, Hancock, and New Ashford, with a combined population of 225 students in two schools.  Working together, these districts, who share a superintendent, will work together to improve the efficiencies of their technological applications for human resources, accounting, finance, communication, curriculum collaboration, professional development, and educational support.  Funds will be used to reduce duplication of efforts, develop professional development delivery models, provide a means and mechanism for teachers to develop and share curricula, provide an up to date regionalized consistent website, and install more robust network infrastructure to improve performance, increase reliability, and security. 

 

Expanding Regional Services for Students with Dyslexia (Expansion)

  • Manchester-Essex Regional School District
  • $73,000
  • This is an expansion of the FY12 CIC project which created a similar program for students in grades 4-5.  This program will create SPED programs for students with dyslexia in to grade 6.  This program will expand the District’s ability to save funds and provide a quality education for these students by creating an in-house program.  The 6th grade component will provide intensive support in assistive technology. 

 

School StatNet Pilot

  • Cities of Somerville, Fitchburg, Chicopee, and Revere
  • $38,326 requested
  • A coalition of school districts, supported by the Collins Center and under the direction of a steering committee, will replicate the successful New England StatNet program.  As part of the effort, an analyst will consolidate student assessment and operational data and work to help answer questions and dilemmas that districts face.  The coalition will host four meetings open to all Massachusetts school districts, at which participating district personnel will discuss the analyzed data along with related operational decisions and best practices.  

 

Berkshire County Curriculum Frameworks Project

  • Central Berkshire Regional School District, Adams-Cheshire Regional School District, Berkshire Hills Regional School District; Northern Berkshire Regional Vocational Technical School District, Southern Berkshire Regional School District; Towns of Clarksburg, Florida, Savoy, Lee, and Lenox
  • $89,520 
  • Schools through the Commonwealth are transitioning to new curriculum standards based on the Common Core State Standards.  The process of incorporating these standards is complex and extensive.  This project will allow multiple districts to build and apply support provided by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).  The program will develop curriculum maps and pacing guides which will provide detailed guidelines for educators to implement changes in their classroom practices. 

 

Information Technology

Central Massachusetts Regional Electronic Permitting

  • Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission (Lead); Towns of Barre, Blackstone, Boylston, Dudley, Hardwick, Leicester, Northbridge, Spencer, and Upton
  • $112,000
  • This is the first regional e-permitting program proposed for Southern Worcester County, and has an original focus of smaller towns with limited staff capacities and limited funding to adopt, implement, and maintain e-permitting on their own.  Funds would provide year 1 start-up costs for the nine participating towns.  The program will streamline the permit process for municipal employees to dramatically reduce the time staff send processing permits, getting appropriate sign offs from other departments, tracking permit review and answering questions.  Additionally, applicants will have the ability to submit permit applications, pay permit fees, schedule and/or request inspections and conduct other business via the internet.

 

Municipal Open Checkbook System

  • Cities of Woburn, Chelsea, Chicopee and Revere; Town of Brookline
  • $120,000
  • Communities will have access to a hosted Citizen Transparency Module based on the Commonwealth’s Open Checkbook website (http://www.mass.gov/opencheckbook).   Each community will have a link on their website that will lead them to a hosted solution which will display information consistent with Open Checkbook.  The data for each community will be securely transmitted weekly to a data center and be stored in data information systems.  Data will be processed into data modules and populate data views for citizens to access.  All data will be updated weekly.  Initial participants will need to be utilizing the MUNIS financial system, which is utilized in over 160 communities in Massachusetts.

 

Electronic Weights and Measures Inspection

  • Towns of Holliston, Ashland, Medway, and Millis
  • $21,550 requested and recommended
  • Each year, all towns and cities in the Commonwealth are required to perform inspections of scales and other measurement systems, such as gas pumps.  Many smaller communities spend high sums of money on hiring contractors.  Four communities will work together to jointly procure and implement an electronic weights and measures inspection program which includes specific software and hardware that would be used by each community, as well as training inspectors and other related staff to use the new software and hardware.  Several of the participating communities have a history of municipal collaboration and they are examining additional opportunities to increase operational efficiencies and better service delivery.

 

Malden 311 and Workers’ Compensatory Reentry

  • City of Malden
  • $27,780 requested and recommended
  • Funds will be used to obtain and measure data produced by a 311 Call Center.  The center will be staffed in a truly innovative fashion, as some of the call center staff will consist of existing administrative employees currently working in different departments, as well as other employees who are presently out of work collecting Workers’ Compensation benefits who are unable to return to work due to disability.  It will qualify as “light duty,” enabling their return to work.

 

Hampshire Cloud

  • Hampshire Council of Governments (Lead); Towns of Hadley and Chesterfield
  • $308,963 requested; $80,000 recommended
  • This program will establish a cost effective regional information technology infrastructure and will allow three participating entities to convert their current information technology infrastructure to a cloud computing environment and produce a documented implementation structure for additional municipalities.  This will be accomplished through a regional planning effort, shared resources, and the utilization of substantial investments made by the Commonwealth, including broadband. 

 

Regionally Improving Citizen Access and Service Delivery

  • Merrimack Valley Planning Commission (Lead); Amesbury, Haverhill, Lawrence, Methuen, Newburyport, Andover, North Andover, and Salisbury
  • $80,000
  • Beginning in 2007, the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission formed the Merrimack Valley Mayors and Managers Coalition to collaborate and develop regional solutions with a main objective of helping communities collectively manage common tasks.  Around the same time, a group of regional department of public works (DPW) officials identified common needs for improving administrative functions, including workload management, strategic asset management, and citizen response and customer satisfaction.  This program will allow the communities to develop a regionalized computer maintenance management system.

 

Public Health

Online Tobacco Retailer Certification Program

  • Towns of Lee (Lead), Lenox, and Stockbridge
  • $25,250 requested and recommended
  • The Tri-Town Health Department is the only regional public health department in Berkshire County.  Comprised of three communities, the department was established in 1929 and has managed several public health grant initiatives.  From 2005 to 2007, the illegal tobacco sales to minors within a 12 town area was an average 44 sales per year and of those sales, 100% of the stores received a fine and 40% received a suspension to their tobacco license.  The Tri-Town department worked with collaborative partners to create the Tobacco Retailer Subcommittee, which was tasked to examine and review current board of health regulations and its efficacy, determine the reason why illegal tobacco sales were increasing, and explore options.  Funding will allow for the expansion and conversion of the existing “Certified Tobacco Retailer Clerk” training to an innovative, interactive, and user friendly web-based program. 

 

Hampden County Health Alliance

  • Pioneer Valley Planning Commission (Lead); Cities of Holyoke, Westfield, West Springfield; Towns of Blandford, Granville, Ludlow, Palmer, and Southwick
  • $45,000
  • This program utilizes and strengthens existing capacities and offers applicant communities’ services they would not otherwise be able to provide, including a health educator, supervised MAVEN (Massachusetts Virtual Epidemiologic Network), training and administration, public health nursing services, a computer lab training site, and a community health assessment.  The assessment is essential to improving the poor health indicators per Hampden County’s ranking in the state, and participating process in conjunction with work being done by the Department of Public Health’s District Incentive Grant.  PVPC applied for this program last year.  After not receiving funding, they worked with MDPH to propose a program that would work for their region. 

 

Public Health Nursing- Year 2

  • Berkshire Regional Planning Commission (Lead); Towns of Adams, Alford, Becket, Clarksburg, Dalton, Egremont, Great Barrington, Hancock, Lanesborough, Mt. Washington, New Marlborough, North Adams, Peru, Richmond, Sandisfield, Savoy, Sheffield, Washington, West Stockbridge, Williamstown, and Windsor
  • $54,840
  • This is an expansion request for a program successfully filed under the FY12 CIC program.  It will address identified public health service gaps, meet state mandates, and improve health outcomes at an affordable cost.  Public Health is a legal obligation of each municipality and health outcomes in rural communities are generally worse than in urban centers.  Additional funding will allow the program to expand to 3-6 additional towns, as well as offer read-only MAVEN status for all Berkshire municipalities to coordinate disease reporting. 

 

Cooperative Public Health

  • Franklin Regional Council of Governments (Lead); Towns of Buckland, Charlemont, Conway, Deerfield, Gill, Hawley, Heath, Monroe, Leyden, and Shelburne
  • $68,317
  • This is an expansion of the project funded by the FY13 CIC program to establish a new public health district.  Funding would allow the district to expand both scope and size.  The size would expand to include the Towns of Shelburne and Leyden, as well as staff to conduct outreach in additional towns.  The scope of the district would expand to offer a complete, integrated online permitting function for all comprehensive member towns.    

 

Planning, Development, and Housing

Massachusetts Housing Data Portal

  • Metropolitan Area Planning Commission
  • $50,000
  • This Housing Data Portal will help Massachusetts municipalities plan for increased housing production and track progress toward local housing targets and the Statewide Housing Production Goal of 10,000 multi-family housing units per year.  It would serve as a “one stop shop” for municipalities to plan ahead for affordable and market rate housing that meets local demographics.  Additionally, the portal will provide municipalities with the data required for a number of state and federal grant application processes, with a focus on data required for Housing Production Plans (HPPS).  Additionally, a publically available centralized portal will provide a greater level of data consistency and accuracy. 

 

Public Safety

Expansion grant for Southeast Fire Department Electronic Records and Permitting Collaborative- Electronic Building Permits

  • Southeastern Regional Planning and Economic Development District (Lead); City of Fall River; Towns of Marion, Fairhaven, North Attleborough, Seekonk, and Westport
  • $75,000
  • SRPEDD received funding in the FY12 CIC round to develop a system of online fire permitting.  Four of the eleven communities (North Attleborough, Seekonk, Westport, and Fall River) seek to expand the FY12 program by expanding the electronic capability into their building departments, and the Towns of Marion and Fairhaven wish to expand to join the fire collaborative and add the e-permitting solution for their building departments.  Costs will be kept as low as possible by using a vendor who funds their licensing and ongoing maintenance charges by collecting a convenience fee of the processed through their software application.  The reduced award reflects the elimination of funds requested for a contingency account.

 

Rutland Regional Animal Control

  • Towns of Rutland (Lead), Oakham, Barre, and Paxton
  • $83,904 requested and recommended
  • These four small, rural communities are seeking startup costs to cover shared regional animal control services, including a regional facility, intergovernmental agreements, and regionalization expenses.  The facility will be located in the Town of Oakham on town owned land and maintained behind the police station and it will replace the existing deteriorated and undersized buildings. 

 

NoFIRES

  • Hampshire Regional Council of Governments (Lead); City of Holyoke; Towns of Athol, Erving, New Salem, Orange, Petersham, Phillipston, Royalston, Warwick, and Wendell.
  • $63,750
  • This is an expansion request for a program originally funded through the FY12 CIC program.  NoFIRES seeks to expand services to the City of Holyoke and seven communities in the North Quabbin region with the hope of servings 20 to 30 additional juvenile fire setters each year.  Since January 20122, Northwestern District Attorney David Sullivan has collaborated with concerned communities leaders across social service agencies.  NoFIRES has established a regional and multi-disciplinary program that provides effective intervention, education, and treatment referrals to youth and their families.

 

Northwestern District Anti-Crime Task Force Program

  • Franklin Regional Council of Governments (FRCOG) (Lead); Cities of Greenfield and Northampton; Towns of Athol, Amherst, and Montague.
  • $81,288 requested and recommended.
  • The task force will be created to fill a void in investigative capabilities in the area comprising the Northwestern District relative to illegal narcotics, unlawful firearms offenses, gang related crimes, major crimes, human trafficking, and other organized criminal activities.  The project will work with the Mass. State Police Narcotics Unit and coordinate its efforts with local, state and federal agencies tasked with investigating illegal narcotics offenses, ect.   The project will coordinate between all available law enforcement options, including federal agencies and federally run task forces, and will supplement and provide resources to investigations into illegal narcotics offenses, ect.

 

Veterans’ Services

Northampton Veterans Collaborative

  • Northampton (Lead), Amherst, Pelham, Williamsburg, Chesterfield, and Cummington
  • $35,000 requested and recommended.
  • In 2009, Northampton joined with Amherst, Pelham, Williamsburg, Chesterfield, and Cummington to create a Veterans Services Consortium under a memorandum of understanding (MOU).  This program will allow for the expansion of the current Central Hampshire Regional Veterans Services Consortium by providing funds for Hadley and Middlefield to join.  This will also provide a continuous group of communities and allow for the formation of an official Veterans Service District under Chapter 115, Section 10. 

 

Elder Affairs

Two Town Trolley (Elder Paratransit)

  • Town of East Longmeadow
  • $30,600
  • This program will provide funding for a regional paratransit service between the Towns of East Longmeadow and Hampden.  Funds will be used to cover the costs of fuel, maintenance, driver training, and salaries for the drivers and dispatchers.  Hampden is a small rural community that does not receive fixed route service from the local regional transit authority, and much of the Town of East Longmeadow does not fall within the ¾ mile radius mandated by the Federal Transit Authority. 

 

Environment/ Public Works/Transportation

Cape Cod Great White Shark Research

  • Towns of Orleans (Lead), Chatham, Provincetown, Truro, Wellfleet, Eastham, Brewster, Dennis, Yarmouth, Barnstable, Harwich, and Nantucket
  • $50,000
  • Funds will be used to establish a local effort to collect scientific data of the increased presence of Great White Sharks in Cape Cod waters and pilot a community outreach initiative to educate citizens and visitors about the sharks.  In October, several Cape communities met to discuss the growing Great White Shark population and the fact that no consistent outreach efforts currently exist.  The Mass. Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) conducted tagging operations for several years, and the first phase of the project is aimed at supplementing this research through the purchase, installation, and monitoring of receiver buoys that will record the presence of tagged great whites.  DMF would analyze this data to identify behavioral trends, and phase two includes the design and installation of educational signs at various locations in each community.  The final phase will be to design and publish informational brochures to be distributed to residents and visitors, providing specific information on sharks.

 

Regional Highway Equipment Cooperative

  • Towns of Brookfield (Lead), Brimfield, East Brookfield, Hardwick, Warren, and West Brookfield
  • $24,500
  • This application is a request to expand the work of the FY12 CIC grant that the communities received.  Since the program began, the Town of Hardwick joined and several other towns have also expressed an interest. One task is to assess the impact of adding new communities to the Cooperative and the process for doing so.  In addition, the member communities will explore the possibility of sharing one employee among all of the highway departments. The COOP will hire a personnel expert to study the issues and solutions and seek approval of the concept by local officials.

 

Forming a Regional Transportation Management Association

  • Towns of Acton (Lead), Boxborough, Concord, Littleton, Maynard, Stow, and Westford
  • $60,000
  • In FY12, the Towns of Acton, Boxborough, Littleton, Maynard and Stow received a CIC grant to develop a regional transportation program.  For FY13 two communities, Concord and Westford, have been added to the program.  The partners are seeking to provide better coordinated transportation services to help commuters get into Boston and Cambridge, reverse commuters coming from the city into the area, suburb to suburb commuters, and people with daily need trips to medical facilities.  This expands the FY12 focus, which was on better utilizing Council on Aging vans.

 

Northern Middlesex Storm Water Collaborative

  • Northern Middlesex Council of Governments (Lead); City of Lowell; Towns of Billerica, Chelmsford, Dracut, Dunstable, Pepperell, Tewksbury, Tyngsborough, and Westford
  • $98,000
  • This grant will allow for the formation of a regional collaborative to undertake the public education, procurement, management, administrative, and mapping tasks that are necessary for implementing municipal storm water management plans and meeting EPA requirements.  The intent of the collaboration is to utilize new approaches to solve storm water problems across the region in a way that reduces costs for local governments and taxpayers, and promotes regional communication and cooperation.  Reduced funding will provide for public education and outreach as well as joint procurement.

 

Hamilton-Wenham Regional Department of Public Facilities and Infrastructure

  • Towns of Hamilton and Wenham (Lead); Hamilton-Wenham Regional School District
  • $30,000
  • The Towns of Hamilton and Wenham and the regional school district have a rich history of sharing municipal services.  This current endeavor is to build the first combined public works department in Massachusetts.  The District and Towns are committed to moving forward to design and implement a new paradigm for the management of all public facilities, infrastructure, and grounds maintenance, including routine and preventative building maintenance, capital repairs and overall infrastructure improvement.  This initiative has been researched and planned three years ago, and a pilot program that handled the combined grounds maintenance was launched in April 2011. 

 

Regionalized Municipal Storm Water Management

  • Current communities: Spencer (Lead), Auburn, Charlton, Dudley, Holden, Leicester, Millbury, Oxford, Paxton, Shrewsbury, Spencer, Sturbridge, Webster, and West Boylston; Expansion communities: Boylston, Grafton, Hardwick, Monson, New Braintree, Northbridge, Northborough, North Brookfield, Palmer, Princeton, Rutland, Southbridge, Sterling, Upton, Ware, Westborough, and Wilbraham
  • $115,000
  • Expand last year’s overwhelmingly successful project of regionalizing Storm Water Management in Central Massachusetts by adding seventeen (17) new communities to the existing thirteen (13)-town collaboration, now known as the Central Massachusetts Regional Storm Water Coalition (CMRSWC). This entity was created through the collaborative efforts implemented with FY2012 Community Innovation Challenge (CIC) Grant Program funds. In addition to expanding to implement FY2012 tasks in the 17 new communities, the proposed project advances the CMRSWC by building on work done in the original 13 communities and adds new tasks that will move all 30 communities forward.  The overall purpose of this multi-town initiative through the FY2012 project, and now the FY2013 project is to address common priorities as they relate to municipal storm water Management and to develop a regional approach to address the priority of protecting water quality for current users and future generations. This joint effort is designed to achieve service efficiencies and realize cost savings through the collaboration of education and training, standardizing policies and procedures, sharing a common data base management system, and sharing equipment. Efficiencies have already been achieved and will continue as such through the sharing of ideas and tasks rather than an autonomous approach to managing our municipal storm water. Cost savings will also be achieved through the continued joint effort.

 

Libraries

Ames Free Library’s Creative Commons

  • Town of Easton
  • $40,000
  • The Ames Free Library is expanding services by developing a multiple use learning hub that will integrate information, technology, and collaborative expertise to support lifelong learning and digital media creativity.  CIC funding will outfit a Digital Media Laboratory and an Education/Business Center that will provide technology and space for the library and the Oliver Ames High School and Easton Council on Aging.