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FRCOG will hold a Bike Breakfast on Tuesday, May 16th at the John W. Olver Transit Center in Celebration of Bay State Bike Week

 

As part of Bay State Bike Week, the Franklin Regional Council of Governments (FRCOG) will host a breakfast on Tuesday, May 16th, from 7:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. at the John W. Olver Transit Center located at 12 Olive Street in Greenfield.  There will be coffee, juice and light breakfast fare.  The event is a fun opportunity to meet other bicyclists and share thoughts on bicycling.  The Franklin Regional Transit Authority will have a bus that is equipped with a bicycle carrying rack available to try loading and unloading.

For further information please contact Senior Transportation Planner II, Elizabeth Giannini at giannini@frcog.org.

 

Franklin County/North Quabbin Community Health Improvement Plan

On April 7 the FRCOG was pleased to host a broad group of community based organizations, health care providers, local and state government representatives, school officials, and public health professionals for the release of the region’s first Community Health Improvement Plan, in conjunction with the release of the 2017 National County Health Rankings. The FRCOG has been working for over a year with a dozen other organizations to assess health needs, identify evidence-based interventions, and prioritize strategies. 

To review the Community Health Improvement Plan, a list of the partners,  and the slides from April 7, visit: http://frcog.org/program-services/regionalization-special-projects/chip/

For more information on the County Health Rankings, visit www.countyhealthrankings.org 

United Way’s Sandy Sayers introduces the CHIP.

Baystate Franklin Medical Center CEO Cindy Russo reviews the CHIP’s clinical care priorities.

Representative Paul Mark on legislation to improve health outcomes.


FRCOG Bicycle Parking Program is Taking Requests

The FRCOG Bicycle Parking Program will provide bike racks for public use free of charge to towns in Franklin County. Towns will be able to select the bike racks that they prefer.  The racks will be ordered by the FRCOG and delivered to towns on a first come, first-served basis. In order to be able to provide bike racks at no cost, the FRCOG must have a commitment from each participating town that they will be promptly installed. For information on how to receive free bike racks, see the Bicycle Parking Program information page.

This opportunity to receive bicycle racks is made possible through a contract with MassDOT, which will reimburse the FRCOG for the cost of bike racks through the Federal Highway Administration Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program.

 

Municipal Resources on Marijuana Legalization

The FRCOG recently hosted a workshop with Attorney Joel Bard and State Rep. Steve Kulik on the many changes coming as a result of the legalization of recreational marijuana. We have collected a number of resources for towns and others on our website.   Click here for a collection of useful information on the new law.

FY18 Budget under development

The FRCOG Finance Committee will be developing the FRCOG’s FY18 budget through the months of December and January.  The budget will be presented to the full Council at the end of January and, once endorsed, sent to all member towns in early February for municipal budgeting purposes.   Early identification of issues to be addressed during the development of the FY18 budget include:

  • Expected staff retirements in FY17, 18 and 19 that will potentially result in increased retiree health insurance costs and transition funding.
  • Potential increase to health insurance costs, especially with the current ambiguity of National Health Care (Obama Care) and possible reverberating costs to all health care systems.
  • Transition to new accounting software that could result in one-time technical support or IT costs.
  • Need to diversify grant sources to be less reliant on federal funding.

As always, the need to create a budget so far in advance results in some uncertainties, perhaps more true this year, but the Finance Committee has become adept at projecting conditions and developing budgets that maintain quality services at the most affordable cost to member towns.  To learn more about the FRCOG budget, refer to the FRCOG Budget Development Workbook.

New Accounting Software Required

As it turns out, the rumors we kept hearing were true!  We received official notice that the Fundware accounting software used by the FRCOG and by the regional Town Accounting Program will no longer be maintained or supported by its parent company, Blackbaud, beyond December 31, 2017.  Staff are actively examining options for a post-Fundware operation, including searching for grant funds to pay transition costs, and considering opportunities for additional electronic efficiency improvements to modernize the Program.

To date, Accounting Program staff have viewed demonstrations of four different accounting software programs and are evaluating each in relation to the accounting needs of the Program member towns.  Throughout the process we are searching for software that is easy to use, improves staff efficiency while using the software, and continues to allow member towns with populations under 2,000 residents to benefit from the software without needing to purchase their own expensive software licenses.  With Fundware, all towns are able to participate in the Program under the umbrella of the FRCOG’s master license.

FRCOG has applied for state grant funding to purchase accounting and cash management software to be used for the benefit of all Program towns.  Individual software licenses can be prohibitively expensive for small town budgets.  Grant funding will help us modernize our accounting software and add cash management software that will help streamline the cash reconciliation process by more quickly and accurately sharing data between the town treasurer and the accountant.

Additionally, the grant application requests funding for consulting assistance to help develop and implement additional electronic efficiencies that will allow the Program to evolve into a more efficient centrally-located operation.  More robust software should offer the opportunity to improve efficiencies and help modernize the Program’s operation so we can spend less time traveling and more time doing accounting work for our towns.  We should hear whether or not we will receive the grant before the end of December, 2016.

Final East County Transit Study Available

The East County Transit Study examined the feasibility of initiating fixed route transit service to the East County region, which includes the communities of Leverett, New Salem, Shutesbury, and Wendell.  Currently, there is no fixed route transit service to or from this area of the county, nor are there connections to other transit routes or providers.  A survey was conducted of all households in the four-town area, with a very strong response rate.  While it does appear that there is potential demand for a form of transit service, current funding levels do not support start-up at this time.

East County Transit Study

Flu Clinic Schedule

Flu season is here — do your part to build community immunity!  For information on the symptoms and treatment of influenza, and information about the vaccine, visit http://www.cdc.gov/flu/

Ready to get your vaccination?  The eleven towns of the Cooperative Public Health Service health district have released their regional flu clinic schedule!

To download a flyer for a particular clinic:
all-flu-clinics-poster-2016-v3
gill-flu-clinic
leyden-flu-clinics
mohawk-flu-clinic
shelburne-flu-clinic
charlemont-hawley-flu-clinics
charlemont-hawley-flu-and-rabies  (just the 10/29 date)
conway-flu-clinics
deerfield-flu-clinics

all-flu-clinics-poster-2016-v3

cphs-fy17-members-by-type

$155K Grant Awarded for River Corridor Planning

The FRCOG Planning Department received $155,000 from the MassDEP’s 319 Nonpoint Source Pollution Competitive Grant Program, one of only nine awards made for stormwater projects across the state, for a project to improve the resiliency of the Deerfield River Watershed.  FRCOG’s project will look at innovative ways to map and protect river corridors in the Deerfield River Watershed, which experienced major flooding and erosion during Tropical Storm Irene.  Although the Deerfield River and many of its tributaries are healthy in terms of their high water quality, these same rivers are very unstable in their response to intense rain events.  This instability results in erosion and flooding, which threatens infrastructure, homes, businesses and agricultural lands.  The rivers are highly reactive to intense rain events for a number of reasons, one of which is the disconnection of the rivers from their floodplains, which provide a “safety valve” during flood events.  FRCOG’s project will develop cost-effective river corridor mapping protocols, work with several towns to adapt a model River Corridor Protection Overlay District developed by FRCOG under a FEMA-funded project for the South River Watershed, and develop a model River Corridor Conservation Restriction.  For more information, contact Kimberly Noake MacPhee, P.G., Land Use & Natural Resources Program Manager at 413-774-3167 x130 or kmacphee@frcog.org.