Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray and Secretary of Administration and Finance Jay Gonzalez today announced the 28 recipients of the $4 million Community Innovation Challenge (CIC) grant program. The CIC grant program's focus is to incentivize and support innovative regionalization and other cost saving initiatives that will help local governments increase cost-efficiency while maintaining service delivery.
"We remain committed to providing key resources and tools to support our cities and towns in managing through this fiscal crisis and beyond," said Governor Deval Patrick. "Through regionalization of services, we are creating innovative opportunities for neighboring communities to build partnerships to deliver local services more effectively and efficiently."
"Our Administration continues to work closely with municipal managers and local planners to deliver the resources they need to develop cost-saving measures and reforms for critical local services like public health, education and public safety," said Lieutenant Governor Murray, who previously chaired the Regionalization Advisory Commission and currently chairs the Municipal Affairs Coordinating Cabinet. "Each of the Community Innovation Challenge award recipients have proposed innovative opportunities to collaborate, regionalize and help maintain local services that will be delivered more effectively and efficiently to taxpayers in 138 communities across the Commonwealth."
An additional $1 million in funding for regionalization projects in Norfolk County was provided in the 2012 supplemental budget signed by Governor Patrick in February 2012. These projects will support programs including regional animal control, regional veterans' services, regional municipal payroll services, regional municipal engineering services and the additional hiring of a regional services coordinator for Norfolk County communities.
"Our new fiscal reality demands that government change the way it does business to stretch every taxpayer dollar as far as possible," said Secretary Gonzalez. "The Patrick-Murray Administration has been driving change at the state level, and the Community Innovation Challenge Grant program is just one of the many ways we are working to give cities and towns the tools they need to drive change in local government too."
Regionalization allows for neighboring communities to build partnerships to engage in shared services, inter-municipal agreements, municipal collaborations, consolidations, mutual aid and regional planning to reduce the risk of duplicating efforts and spending limited taxpayer dollars unnecessarily.
The 28 project recipients span Massachusetts from the town of Mt. Washington to the city of Boston and include five Gateway Cities, including Barnstable, Lowell, Worcester, Taunton and Springfield.
The Patrick-Murray Administration has had recent success with implementing regionalization grants. Since 2008, the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security has awarded over $35 million in development grant funds involving 36 projects and about 248 communities through the Public Safety Answering Point & Regional Emergency Communication Center Support and Incentive Grant. Additionally, the Public Health District Planning Grant, through the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, has awarded federal planning grants to 11 groups of municipalities, representing a total of 113 communities serving 1.8 million residents, interested in developing regional public health districts.
In the Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 budget, Governor Patrick proposed the development of the CIC grant program to encourage and incentivize regionalization and other innovative efficiency initiatives. The CIC grant program was supported by the Legislature, providing $4 million for regionalization and other initiatives that will improve the effectiveness and efficiency in the delivery of local services. Governor Patrick proposed an additional $7 million in funding for the CIC grant program in his FY13 budget proposal.
"This is great news for Cape Cod," said Senate President Therese Murray. "This funding will allow the Cape to develop a shared system that will automate and streamline application services and result in cost savings for the towns on Cape Cod. The Cape Cod Commission is committed to the economic, environmental and preservation needs of the Cape Cod region and it's important that we continue to develop innovative plans and solutions to ensure that our towns are running effectively and efficiently."
"I commend the Patrick-Murray Administration for their efforts in securing funds for the Community Innovation Challenge Grant Program," said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo. "As we continue to emerge from these tough economic times, it remains important that legislators continue to find ways to make government more effective and efficient."