For Immediate Release - November 07, 2011

Patrick-Murray Administration Announces New Community Innovation Challenge Grant

Program to Award $4 Million in Funding for Regionalization and Efficiency Initiatives

BOSTON – Monday, November 7, 2011 – Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray and Secretary of Administration and Finance Jay Gonzalez today announced the creation of a new $4 million Community Innovation Challenge (CIC) grant program to incentivize and support innovative regionalization and other cost saving initiatives that will change the way local governments do business to maintain service delivery and stretch every tax payer dollar as far as possible.

Today’s announcement follows a series of local forums led by Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray that brought together municipal officials to promote the regionalization of local services.

“Over the years, our administration has worked closely with municipal managers and local planners to provide tools and resources to support cities and towns,” said Lieutenant Governor Murray.  “By implementing the new Community Innovation Challenge grant program, we are taking a major step forward in supporting regional partnerships and helping communities develop cost-saving measures and innovative reforms to maintain the delivery of critical local services like education and public safety.”

Regionalization is an opportunity for neighboring communities to build partnerships to engage in shared services, inter-municipal agreements, municipal collaborations, consolidations, mutual aid, and regional planning to reduce the risk of duplicating efforts and spending limited taxpayer dollars unnecessarily. With 351 cities and towns spanning the Commonwealth, there are countless ways to collaborate and work together to maintain important local services and deliver those services effectively and efficiently.

The CIC grant program is one more example of the kind of reforms the Patrick-Murray Administration has made in challenging fiscal times to make government more effective and efficient. CICG 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. Ideal projects for the grant program include those with the potential for greatest impact, high levels of innovation and substantial potential cost savings for municipalities.

“Our new fiscal reality demands that we invest in and incentivize innovation among local governments to find more efficient ways to deliver core local services,” said Secretary Gonzalez. “Our goal with this program is to identify compelling proposals that will help cities and towns throughout the Commonwealth cut costs to preserve core services.”

The Patrick-Murray Administration has had recent 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.

In the Fiscal Year 2012 budget, Governor Patrick authorized the development of a competitive grant program to encourage and incentivize regionalization based upon the belief that the most crucial and visible interactions between government and citizen occur locally. A grant program was proposed in the Governor’s budget, and supported by the Legislature, providing $4 million for regionalization and other initiatives that will improve the effectiveness and efficiency in the delivery of local services.

How to Apply

Eligible applicants include for the CICG program include:

  • municipalities
  • regional schools
  • school districts considering forming a regional school district or regionalizing services
  • regional planning agencies and councils of government

Regional agencies and councils of governments may also serve as the administrative or fiscal agent on behalf of municipalities. Applicants will be required to submit a project timeline and detailed budget for their proposal. Additionally, applicants must propose a method to measure and evaluate both the success of implementing the proposed project and the success of the initiative or reform going forward once implemented.

To qualify for the grants, communities must submit their application to the Executive Office of Administration and Finance by January 17, 2012.

Program Contacts:                                             

Pam Kocher

Director of Local Policy

Executive Office for Administration and Finance

Email:  CICgrants@state.ma.us

Phone: 617-727-2040

Tim Dodd                                                                

Program Manager                                             

Executive Office of Administration & Finance                                                       

Email:  CICgrants@state.ma.us

Phone: 617-727-2040

For more information and to submit an application, visit http://www.mass.gov/anf/budget-taxes-and-procurement/working-for-you/community-innovation-challenge-grant/

To attend an Info Session, visit http://www.mass.gov/anf/budget-taxes-and-procurement/working-for-you/community-innovation-challenge-grant/information-sessions.html

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