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.
Resources for municipal officials
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.
Interested in what is going on at the FRCOG? Check out the updates provided at our most recent Council meeting!
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:
charlemont-hawley-flu-and-rabies (just the 10/29 date)
The Cooperative Public Health Service health district is pleased to offer three opportunities this fall for residents and businesses to improve their food safety skills and build their resumes. On October 7, the evenings of November 3,7, and 9, and during the day on January 27, CPHS Food Safety Agent Randy Crochier will teach a low-cost ServSafe, Allergen, and Chokesaver certification for people living or working in food service establishments in CPHS health district towns: Buckland, Charlemont, Conway, Deerfield, Gill, Hawley, Heath, Leyden, Monroe, Rowe and Shelburne. Residents of other towns will be accommodated as space allows.
CPHS Member Boards of Health are offering these workshops to both improve food safety in their towns and build employment skills for local residents. These certifications are made possible through the support of the FDA’s Voluntary National Retail Food Regulatory Standards Program, which has awarded the health district a five year food safety grant.
Information about how to register can be found here:
Handouts from the 7/26 workshop presented by Dr. Rick Peltier of UMass Amherst and Marc Wolman of the Department of Environmental Protection are below:
Presentation by Mark Wolman, MassDEP
Presentation by Dr.Rick Peltier, UMass Amherst
Recorder article about workshop
Interested in learning a bit more about what has been happening here at the FRCOG in the last three months? Check out the updates presented to our Council members on July 21:
Public Health Nurse Lisa White recommends the following steps to “fight the bite” and avoid infection with West Nile Virus (WNV) and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE or “Triple E”):
Applying Insect Repellent when Outdoors. Repellents with DEET, permethrin, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR3535 are effective. Be sure to use these according to the instructions on the product label and note precautions for use on infants and children.
Avoiding outdoor activities during peak mosquito hours. The hours from dusk to dawn are peak biting times for many mosquitoes.
Wearing long-sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors to help keep mosquitoes away from your skin.
Draining standing water where Mosquitoes lay their eggs. Empty any unused flowerpots and wading pools, store wheelbarrows upside down, and change water in birdbaths frequently.
Installing or repairing screens. Keep mosquitoes outside by having tightly-fitting screens on all of your windows and doors.
Protecting your animals. Flush water troughs at least once a week and keep horses in indoor stalls at night with lights off to reduce their exposure to mosquitoes.
Zika virus, Dengue fever, Chikungunya are other mosquito-borne diseases you can get when traveling abroad. At this time, only people traveling to places with ongoing Zika virus outbreaks or engaging in sexual activity with someone who has traveled to these places are at risk for getting these infections. For up to date information about where Zika virus is occurring: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices.
For more information on WNV, EEE, repellent use and other mosquito-borne illness prevention visit www.mass.gov/dph/mosquito or contact Lisa White, Regional Public Health Nurse for the towns of Buckland, Charlemont, Conway, Deerfield, Gill, Hawley, Heath, Leyden, Monroe, Rowe and Shelburne at 413-665-1400 x114.
Massachusetts’ new Rural Policy Commission held its first meeting at the Olver Transit Center recently. Franklin County representatives on the Commission include our own Linda Dunlavy (who was elected Treasurer) and local realtor Corinne Fitzgerald.
The Commission will serve as a research body for issues critical to the welfare and vitality of rural communities and, according to its creating legislation, shall: study, review and report on the status of rural communities and residents in the commonwealth; advise the general court and the executive branch of the impact of existing and proposed state laws, policies and regulations on rural communities; advance legislative and policy solutions that address rural needs; advocate to ensure that rural communities receive a fair share of state investment; promote collaboration among rural communities to improve efficiency in delivery of services; and develop and support new leadership in rural communities.
The Commissioners decided to organize into four subcommittees and to meet again in September. Interested in learning more about what the Commission will do? Check out the webpage here.
FRCOG is pleased to announce the purchase of a new shared resource for Franklin County’s municipalities. Greenfield’s DPW is now hosting a regional sign making machine that is considerably faster than the previous one, and can be used by any town that has received the training and signed a regional Memorandum of Understanding.
The machine’s purchase was made possible through funds from the Baker/Polito Administration’s District Local Technical Assistance program.
For questions about the project, contact firstname.lastname@example.org