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.

Archive | Franklin County Cooperative Inspection Program

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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.

 

Rabies Clinic & Tick-borne Disease Testing Clinic for pets

Click below for more information on this great opportunity to get your pets tested for dangerous tick-borne diseases and vaccinated!

March 26 10-12 at Hawlemont School in Charlemont.

Information below:

2016 Rabies Vaccination Clinic & Tick testing information

DART volunteers and Veterinarian vaccinating the first customer at October's rabies clinic

DART volunteers and Veterinarian vaccinating the first customer at October’s rabies clinic

Drug Take Back Box Locations

Do you have unwanted or out-of-date drugs in your home? Get them out of the medicine cabinet, away from children and potential abusers, and out of the environment. Thanks to Northwestern District Attorney Dave Sullivan and local police departments, you can safely and anonymously drop them off in a secure MedReturn Box, located at one of 18 local police stations, and they will be disposed of in an environmentally sound way. Prescription and non-prescription drugs, vitamins and veterinary meds are accepted. NO liquids, syringes, IV equipment or chemotherapy drugs, please.

click here for drug take back box locations

for more on DA Sullivan’s Drug Take Back program click here

Procurement in Emergencies

While this winter has been very mild, the season always brings with it the increased possibility of the need for emergency repairs.  Here is a very short guide to handling some emergency issues that involve hiring contractors or equipment that will cost more than $10,000.

*In an emergency, you may only do what is necessary to temporarily repair and restore in order to preserve health and safety of persons or property.

*If you need to procure in an emergency, contact the Division of Capital Management and Maintenance (DCAMM) at emergencywaivers.dcamm@state.ma.us or FAX 617-727-5363 to get permission to waive bidding

*If you need Emergency Heavy Equipment, the FRCOG has a standing contract, the details are at http://frcog.org/bids  under Bid Awards and Rental Equipment for a complete list and pricing.

* Remember that even small emergency building repair and public works projects require the payment of prevailing wage unless you hire an owner/operator. We recommend you request a new set of prevailing wages to have on hand for unforeseen emergencies each year at http://prevailingwage.detma.org/WageRequest.

Contact Andrea Woods, Chief Procurement Officer for help with waivers, emergency procurements, prevailing wage requests or locating resources at bids@frcog.org or 413-774-3167 x104.

Deerfield Industrial Park Economic Development Plan Updated

DEDIC EDP_DFLD Industrial Park photo_1-19-16

The vision for the Deerfield Industrial Park includes a mix of industrial and commercial uses.

The Deerfield Economic Development Industrial Corporation (DEDIC) was established in 1977 to implement industrial activities in the Deerfield Industrial Park according to an Economic Development Plan (EDP). Since the establishment of the Park, the industrial and manufacturing sectors of the economy have been substantially altered by the increased effects of globalization and more efficient technologies. While manufacturing remains a prominent economic driver in Franklin County, the nature of the industry and the economy have changed in the ensuing four decades since the publication of the first DEDIC EDP. In 2015, the FRCOG Planning Department worked with DEDIC to develop a revised EDP for the Park that reflects an updated vision of how industrial activities have changed in the 21st century, envisioning a more contemporary mix of industrial and commercial uses.

The revised EDP and associated Zoning Bylaw amendments to allow for expanded commercial uses in the Industrial Park were approved by Deerfield Annual Town Meeting on April 27, 2015. A copy of the EDP can be found on the Deerfield Town Website at: http://www.deerfieldma.us/Pages/DeerfieldMA_News/0211CB28-000F8513

DEDIC and the Town of Deerfield are currently working with the Town’s legislative representatives to seek the enactment of Special Legislation codifying DEDIC’s expanded authority under M.G.L. Chapter 121C. A new set of Industrial Park Rules and Regulations is also being developed that are more in alignment with the current needs of the Park and the community’s economic development goals.

FRCOG’s Health District Wins Federal Food Safety Grant

Thanks to a national push to reduce foodborne illness, seven local towns that share a regional health agent have been awarded a federal grant to support their food safety initiatives. The grant will bring improved inspection and data collection and low-cost and free training for food service employees.

According to Regional Health Agent Glen Ayers, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) funding will focus on food establishments in the towns of Buckland, Charlemont, Gill, Hawley, Heath, Leyden and Monroe. The towns, members of the Cooperative Public Health Service health district at the FRCOG, will receive $65,000 per year for five years to support improvements in inspection and education.   “This grant will give us the technology to do food inspections on tablets out in the field and allow the Boards of Health to track data on food safety issues identified over time,” said Ayers. The FRCOG also has hired a part time Food Safety Agent, Randy Crochier, and will start providing low-cost ServSafe, Choke Saver, and allergy training to town residents and food establishments. The first training is scheduled for March 25 in Buckland.

“The Boards of Health in the health district are committed to keeping the residents and the many visitors to our towns safe from foodborne illness, and are excited about the opportunities this grant offers us,” said Doug Telling, Charlemont Board of Health Co-Chair.

The funds are provided as part of FDA’s support for advancing conformance with the Voluntary National Retail Food Regulatory Program Standards.

On the web:

http://frcog.org/program-services/cooperative-public-health-services/

http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/RetailFoodProtection/ProgramStandards/ucm245409.htm

 

CPHS Health Agent Glen Ayers conducting a food inspection

CPHS Health Agent Glen Ayers conducting a food inspection

How to Keep Your Pets Safe in Emergencies

Disaster preparedness includes every member of the family.  Don’t forget the pets!!

The Cost of Not Preparing for Natural Disasters

The US experienced 10 distinct billion-dollar disasters in 2015!  What will 2016 bring?