In response to COVID-19, FRCOG offices are closed. Staff are working remotely. Email is likely the most efficient way to reach us. You can find our contact information on the Staff page under the About link below.

Building, plumbing and wiring inspectors are responding to emergencies only.

All meetings, workshops and forums are cancelled or have been changed to a call-in or video format.  Please look for emails from FRCOG staff about specific meetings or on our calendar at the Meetings and Events link below.

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Wendell Community Food Assessment Findings Published

FRCOG Planning staff assisted the Town of Wendell’s Agricultural Commission, along with the Wendell Energy Committee, with a Community Food Assessment in 2017. The focus of the assessment was to determine the level of interest of residents to buy more locally produced food, and to determine what types of foods are already being produced in Wendell. Findings of the Community Food Assessment Survey can be reviewed here. A directory of food producers and food-related resources has been developed and will be published by the Wendell Agricultural Commission in early 2018.

 

MVP Program Bidders Conference

Please join the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs this Wednesday, May 3rd at 10 AM at the Franklin Regional Council of Governments Office in Greenfield for the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness Program Bidders Conference. The purpose of the meeting is to answer your questions about the Commonwealth’s new municipal grant program.

10 to 11:30 AM Wednesday, May 3rd, 12 Olive Street, 1st floor conference room, Greenfield, MA

The Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness grant program (MVP) will provide support for cities and towns across the state to begin the process of planning for resiliency.  The state will award communities with funding to complete vulnerability assessments and develop action-oriented resiliency plans.  Communities will be able to define extreme weather and natural and climate related hazards, identify existing and future vulnerabilities and strengths, develop and prioritize actions for the community, and identify opportunities to take action to reduce risk and build resilience.

MVP certified providers will be trained in workshops across the state to provide technical assistance to communities in completing the assessment and resiliency plan using the Community Resilience Building Framework.  Towns and cities will then be able to choose the provider of their choice from a list of certified providers.

Communities who complete the MVP program will become certified as an MVP community and eligible for follow-up grant funding and other opportunities.

The RFR for communities to enroll in the grant program is posted here.

 

Report available on local residents’ access to food.

Food access in Franklin County and the North Quabbin is complex. While farm fields and food venues abound, many people struggle to get enough nutritious food to eat. In Franklin County, over 10% of people and 18% of children are food insecure.

​In order to effectively implement strategies to improve residents’ access to healthy food, the Partnership for Youth conducted focus groups with residents, seniors and youth to assess the food access landscape from the perspective of those who experience greater challenges in accessing food. The publication Food Access in Franklin County and the North Quabbin reports on findings from those focus groups. This work was made possible through Mass In Motion funding from the MA Department of Public Health. 

Food Access Report

 

Grant Funding for Field Data Collection for Undersized Culverts

The Division of Ecological Restoration has funding available for Massachusetts municipalities to complete the critical collection of field data for culvert replacement design (field data collection) for a degraded or undersized culvert located in an area of high value for fish and wildlife habitat and which replacement would benefit community and ecological storm resiliency. The purpose of a field data collection is to gather technical information and analyses necessary to engineer and design a culvert or road-stream crossing to meet the goals of the Massachusetts River and Stream Crossing Standards. Eligible Projects must be located on a public way, owned and maintained by the town, and be associated with a freshwater, non-tidal stream crossing. Massachusetts municipalities are eligible to apply.

Interested communities can find more information in the RFR itself and are encouraged to contact Tim Chorey 617-626-1541; timothy.chorey@state.ma.us. LINKED HERE: https://www.commbuys.com/bso/external/bidDetail.sdo?docId=BD-17-1046-DER-FWE01-11818&external=true&parentUrl=bid

The deadline for the application is January 27, 2017. Mr. Chorey can answer questions regarding potential projects up until January 16, 2017. After January 16, 2017, he can only answer technical questions about the application, and they must be submitted by email prior to January 20, 2017 5pm.

Climate Change Survey Open

The FRCOG is in the beginning stages of developing a Climate Change Adaptation Plan for Franklin County and is seeking responses to their Climate Change Adaptation and Resiliency for Franklin County Survey. This survey focuses on Franklin Town towns and how flooding impacts their infrastructure and natural resources.

CLICK HERE to take the survey. And check back for more information on the Climate Change Adaptation Plan, getting underway in 2017!

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.

Trainings Prepare First Responders

First responders face increasingly dangerous situations when they respond to calls in today’s world of growing violence. It is important that they be kept informed of emerging trends and hazardous situations they may encounter.

Many incidents grow beyond the capacity of a single agency or municipality. It is therefore beneficial for first responders to establish relationships with responders from surrounding municipalities and from as many disciplines as possible.

The Western Region Homeland Security Advisory Council (WRHSAC) provides responders with cutting edge trainings which increase responder knowledge and capabilities. The trainings bring together multiple disciplines from throughout western Massachusetts, fostering relationships that can be key elements to effective and timely response to emergency incidents. Personnel from local agencies train beside those from state and federal agencies benefiting all with shared knowledge of response capacities and interagency relationships.

Some highlights of WRHSAC trainings over the last year include:

  • Pediatric Psychological First Aid
  • Medical Management and Response to Bombing Incidents
  • Advanced Tactical EMS
  • Mass Casualty Incident Drill
  • Response to active shooter incidents drills & full-scale exercise

WRHSAC also funds trainings for several specialized teams, such as the Western Massachusetts Technical Rescue Team, the Hazardous Materials Response Teams, Northwest Massachusetts Incident Management Team, and the newly formed Franklin County Special Response Team.

WRHSAC will continue to focus on providing quality trainings throughout the coming year. Trainings will address topics such as: command and control, communications, search & rescue operations, mass care services and more. WRHSAC will distribute information about upcoming trainings to first responders throughout western Massachusetts. Additionally, interested parties can monitor the Council’s website and Facebook page, for training announcements.

Greenscape Challenge Aims to Improve Water Quality

Act for cleaner rivers logo finalFall is a great time to get outside and spend time in your yard and gardens. The Greenscape Challenge can help you to decide what projects to focus on which can improve your yard and gardens and help protect water quality at the same time! The Greenscape Challenge, part of a collaborative project between the Town of Greenfield, the FRCOG and Greening Greenfield, is aimed at teaching you about various projects and techniques you can use in your yard and gardens to help reduce stormwater runoff from your property. Stormwater runoff can often carry with it lawn chemicals, motor oil, dog poop, grass clipping and much more, which in turn wash into storm drains and on into our streams and rivers. Take the Greenscape Challenge and join the growing numbers of people working to protect water quality in Greenfield and beyond. Learn more.