About the Best Practices Program
Beginning August 15, applications for Year 3 of the CCC Best Practice program can be submitted by those municipalities who did not apply in FY17. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis and will be reviewed within one month of submission. Eligible applicants can choose up to two best practices and enter into a FY18 Compact. The Compact spells out the commitments of the state and gives the municipal leader the flexibility to choose a best practice (or practices) that make the most sense for your community. A complete set of best practices have been developed and are available in the second tab above.
Download a formatted, easy to print PDF of the below best practices.
Education Best Practices
Best Practice: Map community’s priorities, funding and assessments for children from birth to age eight in order to better align resources and achieve greater impact.
Best Practice: Focus on college and career planning beginning in middle school and continuing through high school in order to ensure that all students have access to the opportunities that provide both experience and help to foster informed decisions about college and career pathways.
Best Practice: Maximize opportunities for students to access specialized vocational education through collaborations between regional vocational technical schools, comprehensive high schools and community colleges.
Best Practice: Understand projected changes in student enrollment and demographics and the impact of those changes on the school district’s budget and operations in order to provide a district with the needed information to develop a strategic plan for its future.
Best Practice: Coordinate and communicate key student- and school-level data in real-time in order to inform decision-making and reporting.
Energy and Environment Best Practices
Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Best Practice: Become a Green Community pursuant to M.G.L. c. 25A §10 to realize the energy & environmental benefits
Best Practice: Adopt Zoning for Renewable Energy to reduce GHG emissions and fuel costs
Best Practice: Expedite Permitting for Renewable Energy in order to provide clear and predicate approvals
Best Practice: Complete an Energy Use Baseline so that the community can set goals and track performance
Best Practice: Produce an Energy Use Reduction Plan that lists intended activities and the parties responsible
Best Practice: Purchase Fuel-Efficient or Electric Vehicles to increase vehicle efficiency and reduce GHG emissions and fuel costs
Best Practice: Encourage or Require Energy Efficient & Sustainable Construction to reduce energy & resource use in homes & businesses
Best Practice: Realize or Exceed a Green Community Obligation in order to further reduce emissions & costs
Best Practice: Obtain Green Community 2.0 Status in order to establish a municipal GHG reduction target
Best Practice: Construct Zero Energy Buildings to eliminate GHG emissions, reduce cost, & enhance resiliency
Best Practice: Provide Electric Vehicle Infrastructure to facilitate the purchase & use of electric vehicles
Best Practice: Complete a Community Energy Audit & Manage Energy Consumption to use energy effectively and save money
Best Practice: Undertake a Behavioral Effort to Reduce Energy Use to educate and inspire people to cut their energy use
Climate Change Mitigation
Best Practice: Plan Ahead to mitigate climate change by establishing goals, creating an action plan, assigning responsibility, and tracking progress
Best Practice: Use Renewable Energy instead of fossil fuels by generating or purchasing clean power and by zoning for renewable power generation
Best Practice: Increase Energy Efficiency in order to reduce power consumption, fuel costs, and GHG emissions
Best Practice: Promote Fuel Efficient Transportation to reduce municipal transportation emissions & those from people living/working in the community
Best Practice: Encourage Sustainable Development to reduce, through higher density & mixed-use, the number distance of car trips & resulting GHG emissions
Best Practice: Protect and Manage Natural Resources to reduce carbon emissions from loss of natural land cover and to encourage carbon sequestration
Best Practice: Reduce Municipal Solid Waste and Increase Recycling in order to reduce GHG emissions associated with solid waste disposal
Best Practice: Conserve Water & Increase the Efficiency of Municipal Water/Wastewater Systems as they consume a lot of energy
Climate Change Adaptation & Resilience
Best Practice: Protect Vulnerable Populations to decrease risk to people who are more susceptible to climate change effects & less able to adapt
Best Practice: Inventory Existing Resources & Assess Vulnerabilities to enable the community to prioritize climate change adaptation strategies
Best Practice: Plan for Climate Change Adaptation to assess cost, risk, and potential solutions and produce a plan of action to enhance municipal resiliency
Best Practice: Implement Structural Improvements & Nature Based Approaches to protect buildings and infrastructure
Best Practice: Encourage Sound Land Use that minimizes risk and costs associated with climate change for new development and redevelopment projects
Best Practice: Prepare for Emergencies by completing an Emergency Management Plan or otherwise readying the community for storm events
Sustainable Development and Land Protection
Best Practice: Complete a Master or Open Space & Recreation Plan to guide land conservation & development decisions including zoning & land acquisition
Best Practice: Zone for Natural Resource Protection, Transfer of Development Rights, Traditional Neighborhood, or Transit Oriented Development
Best Practice: Adopt a Tree Retention Bylaw to preserve tree cover when a parcel is subdivided or redeveloped
Best Practice: Invest in Land Conservation or Park Creation/Restoration to protect key parcels of land from development & provide recreational opportunities
Best Practice: Enhance Consistency with a Land Use Priority Plan to achieve shared local, regional, and state land conservation & development goals
Water Resource Management
Best Practice: Require Localized Flood Protection Best Practices to manage water movement & protect lives, public safety, infrastructure, & critical assets
Best Practice: Implement Stormwater Management Measures so that land use regulations help promote infiltration, control flooding, and reduce pollution
Best Practice: Manage Water System Assets so that the condition of infrastructure is known & a plan for regular maintenance & rehabilitation is implemented
Best Practice: Complete Water Audits & Mitigate Leaks to reduce distribution system water losses and associated budgetary & environmental impacts
Best Practice: Protect Public Water Sources in order to reduce potential threats to water quality and the public health of system customers
Best Practice: Implement Water Conservation Measures to ensure long-term water resource sustainability, enable growth, & avoid new source development
Best Practice: Address Infiltration and Inflow to reduce unintended storm and waste water in the system and the cost of treating it
Best Practice: Implement Energy Efficiency Measures and Generate Clean Energy to reduce energy bills and GHG emissions
Best Practice: Utilize Advanced Financing Tools such as an enterprise fund, stormwater utility, or water bank to finance water/waste/storm water systems
Best Practice: Establish Full Cost Pricing so that users pay the true cost for all aspects of water, sewer, or storm water management & service delivery
Best Practice: Institute an Inter-Municipal Agreement in order to realize the economic and technical efficiencies of a regional approach to water infrastructure
Best Practice: Enhance Waste Ban Compliance so that recyclable and hazardous materials are diverted from the waste stream and reused or recycled
Best Practice: Develop Waste Contracts that are fiscally, environmentally, and otherwise beneficial to the community
Best Practice: Reduce Municipal Solid Waste and Increase Recycling by following smart waste practices
Best Practice: Complete a Brownfields Inventory so that the community is aware of all abandoned & underutilized properties & can develop plan of action
Best Practice: Conduct Site Assessments to determine the nature and extent of contamination and develop a plan of action
Best Practice: Clean Sites to prevent further releases or the spreading of contaminants and to bring sites back into productive use
Best Practice: Offer Tax Incentives to help property owners finance sometimes expensive site assessment and remediation
Best Practice: Update Regulations to remove barriers to redevelopment and encourage productive reuse of brownfield sites
Best Practice: Track Cleaned Sites with Activity and Use Limitations in order to ensure that future property uses don’t endanger public health
Best Practice: Engage & Educate Property Owners and the Public to enhance citizen safety and understanding of brownfield issues, resources, and reuse plans
Local Agriculture and Silviculture
Best Practice: Adopt a Right to Farm By-law/Ordinance to clearly indicate that agriculture is a local priority and to minimize abutter conflicts
Best Practice: Establish an Agricultural Commission to advocate for local farms, administer a right to farm bylaw, & otherwise represent agricultural interests
Best Practice: Establish a Farmers Market to provide a venue for local farmers to sell and for residents to purchase locally grown farm products
Best Practice: Support Sustainable Forestry to help the forest economy in rural areas, improve forest habitats, and assist in the conservation of forest land
Best Practice: Increase Agricultural Marketing to enhance awareness and patronage of local agricultural businesses
Best Practice: Support Aquaculture to help local businesses that cultivate aquatic plants or animals
Best Practice: Promote Urban Agriculture in order to increase access to fresh produce and encourage community revitalization
Best Practice: Protect Farm and Commercial Forest Land permanently through zoning and land acquisition
Best Practice: Source Locally Grown or Produced Foods for Local Schools to provide healthier and better tasting meals and to benefit local farmers
Best Practice: Support Local Horticulture and Floriculture to benefit local businesses & enhance the largest agricultural industry in Massachusetts
Best Practice: Plant Trees in order to reduce energy use, fuel costs, GHG emissions & stormwater runoff & increase property values
Financial Management Best Practices
Best Practice: Establish a Budget document that details all revenues and expenditures, provides a narrative describing priorities and challenges, and offers clear and transparent communication of financial policies to residents and businesses.
Best Practice: Develop, document and implement Financial Policies and Practices including reserve levels, capital financing, and use of Free Cash. Such policies should identify the responsible parties and procedural steps necessary to carrying out the directed strategy or action.
Best Practice: Develop and utilize a Long-range Planning/Forecasting Model that assesses both short-term and long-term financial implications of current and proposed policies, programs and assumptions over a multi-year period.
Best Practice: Prepare a Capital Improvement Plan that reflects a community’s needs, is reviewed and updated annually, and fits within a financing plan that reflects the community’s ability to pay.
Best Practice: Review and evaluate Financial Management Structure to ensure that the structure and reporting relationships of the community’s finance offices support accountability and a cohesive financial team process.
Best Practice: Utilize Financial Trend Monitoring, modeled after the ICMA’s Financial Trend Monitoring System (FTMS).
Housing and Economic Development Best Practices
Preparing for Success
Best Practice: Create an Economic Development Plan that engages diverse stakeholders, leverages local and regional economic strengths and assets, encourages innovation and entrepreneurship, and/or promotes workforce development planning and implementation.
Best Practice: Align Land Use Regulations, especially zoning, capital investments, and other municipal actions with Housing Development, Economic Development, Master, Land Use Priority or other plans for future growth. Promote development and reuse of previously developed sites.
Best Practice: Create and Distribute an Economic Development Guide/Manual to not only promote development goals and priorities, but also specifically and clearly outlines the community’s policies and procedures related to zoning and permitting.
Best Practice: Create Opportunities for Engaging Diverse Stakeholders in economic development efforts, such as to assist with identification of priority development projects, improve local permitting processes, and proactively address obstacles to housing/job creation.
Best Practice: Create Cross-Sector Partnerships to help carry out community-driven responses to community-defined issues and opportunities for economic development.
Best Practice: Create a District Management Entity that engages public/private stakeholders to develop and support downtown revitalization efforts.
Best Practice: Adopt as-of-Right Zoning and/or Streamlined Permitting to promote development in priority districts.
Best Practice: Adopt Zoning for Mixed-Use Development, including Transit Oriented Development, where appropriate.
Best Practice: Adopt Chapter 40R Smart Growth zoning to facilitate the creation of dense residential or mixed-use smart growth zoning districts, including a high percentage of affordable housing units, to be located near transit stations, in areas of concentrated development such as existing city and town centers, and in other highly suitable locations.
Best Practice: Engage in an Economic Development Self-Assessment exercise to identify strengths, weaknesses, and areas of opportunity.
Best Practice: Establish and Utilize Performance Data to evaluate the competitiveness of the community, conduct year to year comparisons, and measure performance against comparable communities.
Best Practice: Create a Public Dashboard to benchmark, monitor, and communicate to the public regarding various housing and economic development performance measures.
Best Practice: Create a Housing Production Plan (HPP) that accounts for changing demographics, including young families, changing workforce, and an aging population.
Best Practice: Amend Zoning By-Laws to allow for increased density and housing opportunities in a manner that is consistent with neighborhood character.
Best Practice: Develop Sector Strategies and Plans in collaboration with various providers and stakeholders to address homelessness for specific high need population groups, such as homeless youth, veterans, and/or families.
Best Practice: Complete an Assessment of Fair Housing Report, including strategic goals in alignment with HUD’s new rules to affirmatively further fair housing. Using HUD data, local data and knowledge, a significant community participation process, and the assessment tool provided by HUD, the community will prepare, complete, and submit its AFH to HUD.
Urban Renewal Planning
Best Practice: Determine need and appropriateness of establishing an Urban Renewal Entity in accordance with MGL chapter 121B. If prepared to proceed, develop action plan and timeline for the creation of the urban renewal entity.
Best Practice: Prepare an Urban Renewal Plan Application in accordance with MGL chapter 121B in partnership with the urban renewal entity.
Human Resources Best Practices
Best Practice: Cost-Out Collective Bargaining proposals so that the impact of the total package is known. This provides the municipality with a clear understanding of both short-term and long-term budgetary impacts.
Best Practice: Develop a Workplace Safety program so that the risk of on-the-job injuries is minimized.
Best Practice: Develop a formal Wage and Classification Plan that details, at a minimum, job descriptions, employee grades, and salary ranges, thereby providing the municipality with a tool to make pay decisions that are reasonable in comparison to similar work being carried out in all areas of city/town government.
Best Practice: Develop Employee Policies and Procedures for things such as discrimination, sexual harassment, information technology use, drug and alcohol, use of social media, and town-owned vehicles.
Best Practice: Manage employee benefit costs such as health insurance, dental insurance, unemployment insurance, and worker’s compensation/111F; includes eligibility review and evaluation of insurance choices.
Best Practice: Prepare a Succession Plan to help address the pending wave of retirements that will challenge a municipality’s ability to maintain service levels.
Best Practice: Explore Centralized Human Resources/Personnel Operations to improve service delivery and build efficiencies.
Information Technology Best Practices
Best Practice: Develop a Long-Term IT Financial Strategy to include capital and operating expenses.
Best Practice: Develop a Municipal IT Consolidation Strategy that maximizes technology investments across schools, public safety and municipal buildings.
Best Practice: Develop a Regional Shared IT Services Program that leads to productive partnerships across multiple communities and/or school districts to maximize regional technology investments.
Best Practice: Develop a Comprehensive IT Strategy focused on better aligning technology investment with short and long-term organizational priorities.
Best Practice: Implement a Cyber Security Training Program that ensures staff is aware of, know how to prevent and know how to respond to cyber security threats.
Transparency & Data Standards
Best Practice: Develop an Open Data Policy or Ordinance that increases transparency and makes electronic data available in a machine-readable format.
Best Practice: Deploy an Open Checkbook and/or Open Budget Solution that is easily consumed by the public and promotes transparency.
Best Practice: Implement Address and Parcel Data Standards that lead to better quality mapping, facilitate the deployment of NextGen911, create a foundation for system integration and open opportunities for collaboration with peer communities and state government.
Best Practice: Deploy Municipal Data Standards that lead to municipal system integration leading to performance management capabilities.
Best Practice: Deploy a Regional Data Sharing Program that promotes better communication, collaboration or benchmarking with other communities.
Best Practice: Deploy a Public Information Request Solution that improves the public request intake and tracking process.
Best Practice: Perform an IT Assessment that results in a written evaluation and recommendations, including a review of organizational structure and staffing.
Best Practice: Implement an Offsite Backup Solution that results in municipal data being stored safely offsite, and includes relevant policies and procedures to ensure effective ongoing backup.
Best Practice: Implement a Solution to Digitize Paper Records that results in operational efficiencies and improved responsiveness to the public.
Best Practice: Develop Resiliency, Recovery and Contingency Plans that are aligned with community realities and position the community to effectively manage unforeseen events.
Best Practice: Perform a Cyber Security Assessment to analyze whether there is risk of unauthorized access, implement or improve policies and procedures appropriate for the technology environment and identify steps to remediate any problems identified.
Best Practice: Implement a Citizen Engagement Communication Plan that leverages technology to engage the public through basic electronic communication channels and ensures that internal staff is positioned to support these initiatives.
Best Practice: Implement a Citizen Engagement Transactional Plan focused on on-demand services and interaction with the public.
Best Practice: Implement a Citizen Engagement Co-Creation Plan focused on enhancing residents’ ability to participate in and influence decisions made by their local government.
Public Accessibility Best Practice
Best Practice: Undertake an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Self-Evaluation and Develop a Transition Plan to comply with Federal civil rights laws that require public buildings to be accessible to persons with disabilities.
Public Safety Best Practices
Best Practice: Conduct Active Shooter Preparedness and Response Training in collaboration with the Massachusetts State Police Tactical Operations (STOP) Team, onsite with local law enforcement.
Best Practice: Establish an Emergency Preparedness Plan in partnership with the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) to develop and enhance a community’s disaster and emergency response capabilities.
Best Practice: Establish Hazardous Material Response Protocols in conjunction with Regional Hazardous Materials Response Teams under the Department of Fire Services, to enable cities and towns to protect their citizens, the environment, and property during incidents involving a release or potential release of hazardous materials.
Best Practice: Hold In-service Training Programs for Municipal Police to better prepare local police officers and first responders for incidents involving domestic violence, mental health disorders, and substance abuse.
Best Practice: Convene an opioid task force, consisting of key stakeholders, to identify, implement, coordinate and improve strategies around the prevention, intervention, treatment and recovery of substance use disorders.
Best Practice: Adopt Standardized Tools for Domestic Violence Cases by partnering law enforcement with local domestic violence organizations to adopt a best practice policy on training and implementation of standardized, evidence informed danger and strangulation tools. Municipalities are encouraged to apply individually or as a collective.
Best Practice: Participate in the State Law Enforcement Bureau (SLEB) initiative, which connects local police with the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) to investigate local retailers that are illegally trafficking SNAP benefits. DTA will provide data analysis, investigative supports, and other tools to help law enforcement shut down these criminals in communities across the Commonwealth.
Best Practice: Regionalize services and share resources among municipalities for efficient and effective service delivery to residents and taxpayers in this era of shrinking budgets, loss of seasoned employees to retirement, and increased need for service improvements.
Transportation / Public Works Best Practices
Best Practice: Develop a Safe and Mobile Older Drivers plan for the aging of the population by proactively addressing older driver issues, including education for older road users, infrastructure improvements, and transportation options.
Best Practice: Enhance citizen safety by establishing community-based programs to increase pedestrian, automobile and motorcycle safety. The community will demonstrate participation in the Commonwealth’s Office of Public Safety and Security’s trainings and conferences as well as the dissemination of public safety information to citizens.
Best Practice: Ensure Safe Infrastructure so as to provide a safer environment for all users and modes by implementing traffic engineering enhancements. The municipality will demonstrate regular and routine improvements on locally-funded roads, such as cutting back vegetation at intersections where it is known to interfere with sight distance, clearing brush that obscures traffic signage, renewing or installing pavement markings, conducting nighttime surveys to check visibility and retro reflectivity, implementing traffic calming measures at known high crash locations.
Best Practice: Implement the Complete Streets Program by becoming certified through MassDOT and demonstrate the regular and routine inclusion of complete streets design elements and infrastructure on locally-funded roads.
Best Practice: Utilize Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) fundamentals to create zoning around transit centers that maximizes bike, pedestrian, and transit use and which allows for lower levels of required parking and mixed use to put needed amenities near population centers.
Best Practice: Develop a Safe Routes to School program that also includes student education on pedestrian safety.
Best Practice: Participate in the Bay State Roads, which provides on-going training and helps municipalities share ideas and information with other communities about state of the art planning, design, and operational information for city and town public works managers.
Asset and Infrastructure Management
Best Practice: Inventory and Geo-Code all public works assets so that a database of every public works asset is created, geocoded and condition rated, which is used to inform capital planning, as well as emergency repair.
Best Practice: Develop a Pavement Condition Index that rates street condition for the municipality.
Best Practice: Develop a Multi-Year Vehicle Maintenance and Replacement Plan for their municipal vehicle fleet.
Best Practice: Develop a Bridge / Culvert Preventative Maintenance plan to help prolong the life of these critical transportation assets.
FY18 CCC Best Practices Program FAQs
- What communities are eligible for FY18 Community Compact? And are these optional?
Beginning August 15, applications for Year 3 of the CCC Best Practice program can be submitted only by those municipalities who did not apply in FY17. So those who have not yet applied for a Compact are eligible, along with those who applied in FY16. While a great tool for cities and towns, Community Compacts are optional. All Compact agreements are subject to review by the Division of Local Services before they are signed.
- What is a Community Compact?
The Community Compact is a voluntary, mutual agreement entered into between the Baker-Polito Administration and individual cities and towns of the Commonwealth. In a Community Compact, a community will agree to implement at least one best practice that they select from across a variety of areas. The community’s chosen best practice(s) will be reviewed between the Commonwealth and the municipality to ensure that the best practice(s) chosen are unique to the municipality and reflect needed areas of improvement. Once approved, the written agreement will be generated and signed by both the municipality and the Commonwealth. The Compact also articulates the commitments the Commonwealth will make on behalf of all communities.
- When was the Community Compact program launched?
The first Executive Order, signed by the Governor in January 2015, established Community Compacts. The Order creates a Community Compact Cabinet that will work toward mutual accountability, work to reduce red tape, promote best practices, and develop specific ‘Community Compacts’ with local governments. These Community Compacts create clear mutual standards, expectations, and accountability for both the state and municipalities as we seek to create better government for our citizens. The Baker-Polito Administration values input from the municipal leaders of the Commonwealth and will utilize the Community Compacts as a way to continue to engage them.
- How does a Community Compact work? What is the obligation of my community?
Communities will self-identify the best practice(s) from the list on the Community Compact website. The community’s chosen best practice(s) will be reviewed between the Commonwealth and the municipality to ensure that the best practice(s) chosen are unique to the municipality and reflect needed areas of improvement. Once approved, the written agreement will be generated and signed by both the municipality and the Commonwealth. The municipal leader will be required to sign and authorize the Compact for a community. Those communities participating in the Community Compact will, over a two year period, implement the best practice(s) they selected when entering into the Compact. Resources for technical assistance from the Commonwealth will be prioritized for those communities entered into a Compact and seeking to implement their best practice(s). The Division of Local Services serves as the primary point of entry for communities looking for resources in best practice development and implementation.
- What is the obligation of the Commonwealth?
The Commonwealth’s commitments are found on the Community Compact website ( Commonwealth Commitments ). In addition, the Commonwealth will offer incentives to communities for entering into a Community Compact, including prioritizing Commonwealth technical assistance resources to help reach your chosen best practice(s). Extra points on certain grants, and a grant program specifically for Compact communities, are also incentives included for participation in the program.
- Is there a deadline to apply for the Compact? How do I access the application?
No. A community may choose to enter into the Community Compact at any time. Each Compact agreement will run for two years. During the two year period of each compact, the Division of Local Services will periodically check in with the communities to monitor progress toward the implementation of the selected best practice(s). The application can be found in the "Application" tab above. You will need a passcode to fill out the Community Compact application. The passcode was included in a letter sent from the Lt Governor to municipal CEO’s on August 15, 2017. If you do not have a passcode, please contact DLS by sending an email to Sean Powers at email@example.com.
- Can communities have a joint Community Compact?
Yes, regionalization of the Compact is an option. The Communities will individually fill out an application, choose the same best practice(s) and choose the regionalization option on the application.
Apply for a Community Compact
Welcome to the Community Compact application page. Please review the application instructions below. You will then be asked to enter your passcode at the bottom of the page to fill out the application.
Step 1 – Municipal Designation: Identify as a City or Town.
Step 2 – City or Town Name: Choose your community from the dropdown list.
Note: Each community is allowed to submit one application. Once a community submits an application, that community will no longer appear in the dropdown menu.
Step 3 – Contact Information: Include the contact’s name, phone, and email. This should be the person who can be reached if there are questions about the Compact application.
Step 4 – Compact Signatory: Identify the compact signatory. For a city, the signatory should be the Mayor or City Manager; in a town it should be the Chair of the Board of Selectmen; if a town with a town council, it should be the Town Manager/Administrator. These guidelines also apply to any application choosing Education as a best practice area.
Step 5 – Best Practice: Communities may apply for up to two best practices. Choose a best practice category from the dropdown and the best practice options will appear. After choosing a best practice, you will need to explain why you chose the best practice and what assistance you would need to accomplish it. If you are applying for a best practice with other communities, you will be asked to list the other participating communities. After you enter all required information for your first best practice, you will have the option to apply for an additional best practice.
Step 6 – Submission: Once you have completed the application, please click the submit button. You will not be able to save or review your application once you hit submit. You will receive notice via email confirming your application.
Upon submission, applications will be reviewed by the Senior Deputy Commissioner of Local Services. The purpose of the review is to ensure that the best practice or practices chosen reflect needed areas of improvement. After review, the Division of Local Services will reach out to the community regarding next steps.
NOTE: You will need a passcode to fill out the form below. If you do not have a passcode, please contact DLS by sending an email to Sean Powers at firstname.lastname@example.org.