Archive | April, 2016

Traffic Count Season is Here!

Transportation Planning Staff are gearing up for the 2016 Traffic Counting season, getting supplies and requests in order.  The FRCOG has operated and maintained traffic counting equipment since 1991, primarily for the purpose of conducting state-requested counts required by our contract with MassDOT. However, fulfilling this obligation has taken only a portion of the traffic counting season, making it possible for us to use the equipment to conduct local traffic counts at no charge to our communities and support ongoing planning studies. The FRCOG operates automatic traffic recorders that have the ability to collect vehicle classification and speed data at most locations. The count season typically runs from May and October. Traffic count requests can be made in writing (mail, fax or email) to Laurie Scarbrough, Transportation Planning Engineer at lscarbrough@frcog.org.

Important step in using churches as shelters

Using a church to house overnight guests for an emergency, march/demonstration, athletic or educational event? Read on!

In the last few months, the Franklin County Cooperative Inspection Program has become aware that there are churches that have been using their facilities as temporary overnight shelters for various community events.  While these facilities are generally suitable to house a considerable number of overnight guests, they may or may not be considered safe.  In an effort to assure a reasonable degree of safety for such uses, The Massachusetts Board of Building Regulations and Standards has provided a legal means of permitting this use in the State Building Code.

In short, a church cannot use its facilities as an overnight shelter unless a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy is issued by the Building Official after a mutual inspection is done with the Fire Chief and Board of Health and all officials agree that the temporary use will be reasonably safe.  If you would like to apply for a permit, please feel free to call  or email James Hawkins, Building Commissioner at extension 113.

Some of the beautiful churches in our region:

TownHall&Church Baptist Church @ cemetery rte 112 Buckland--Mary Lyon Church (MHC 106) & Grange Hall (MHC 107) Advent Church in Shelburne Falls

Wood Stove Change-Out Program

DEP’s new Change Out Program offers rebates of up to $1,500 to all Massachusetts residents who replace their old woodstoves by August 22, 2016, and up to $2,500 for those who meet certain income requirements!

Flyer about the program:  2016_Change-Out_Brochure_Standard.

For more information, click here!

FRCOG FY17 Budget

In January the FRCOG Council endorsed the FRCOG’s FY2017 budget.  Budget highlights budget are:

  • 6% increase to health insurance, as voted by the Hampshire Insurance Trust.
  • OPEB payment of $150,000.
  • 2% Increase to staff wages.
  • Using new revenues and with no financial impact to towns, staffing in the Finance Department increased to include a part-time Grant Fiscal Manager.
  • Minor increases to audit costs, staff training and development, and special project costs.
  • Capital expense of $11,000 to purchase a new server and associated software and equipment.

This results in a small increase to the Regional Services Assessment of 1.7%.  There is also very little change to assessments for participation in the Municipal Service Programs:  Cooperative Purchasing, Cooperative Public Health Service, Town Accounting, and the Franklin County Cooperative Inspection Program.

View the Budget and/or the Budget Development Workbook, with detailed and transparent information about the FRCOG’s finances.  FRCOG staff are always available to meet with Select Boards and/or Finance Committees and attend Town Meeting to explain the FRCOG budget.  Please contact lindad@frcog.org with questions or if you would like us to attend any of your meetings.