Showing posts with label regionalization. Show all posts
Showing posts with label regionalization. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

"create an ultimate map for all four towns"

The Milford Daily News catches up to the CIC grant awarded last week:
Franklin Fire Chief Gary McCarraher, who traveled to the State House last Thursday to collect the grant, said it is common for individual towns to have GIS maps. But this grant will be used to create an ultimate map for all four towns, a true innovation. 
"This would allow us to create a master map so each community can share information," McCarraher said. "Eventually that information will get piped from the dispatch center into the cab of the emergency vehicle that’s responding." 
He said the system proves helpful because there may be firefighters responding to a community they may not be familiar with. 
"The whole idea of dispatch is rapidly sending resources to the right address, so what this does is, if you call 911, regardless of where you call from, your information will show up on the map," he said. "There will be no need for the dispatcher to ask, ‘Can you give me that address again?’ Or, ‘What’s the location of the closest hydrant?’ All of that will be in front of them. And that’s powerful."

Read the full article here:

The story appeared here on Saturday

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Regional Dispatch Center receives a Community Innovation Challenge (CIC) grant

Representatives Jeffrey Roy, Shawn Dooley, along with Senators Richard Ross and Karen Spilka today announced the Regional Dispatch Center for Franklin, Wrentham, Norfolk and Plainville is one of 37 projects slated to receive funding from the $4 million Community Innovation Challenge (CIC) grant program. The program incentivizes and supports regionalization and other cost saving initiatives that will change the way local governments do business to maintain service delivery and stretch every tax payer dollar as far as possible. 
The grant provides $20,000 to fund the 4-town GIS Mapping Project to assist with the Regional Dispatch Center established by the Legislature in July of last year. Known as of House No. 2189, the law allows Franklin, Wrentham, Norfolk and Plainville to construct, equip, operate and maintain a consolidated regional public safety communications and dispatch center. 
Left to right, Ross, Roy, McCarragher, Dooley
Left to right, Ross, Roy, McCarragher, Dooley
“The CIC Grant is essentially the foundation for the Regional Dispatch Center,” said Franklin Fire Chief Gary McCarraher, who was at the State House on Thursday to collect the grant. “It will create a model for better, faster response times, enhanced efficiency and it will allow towns to share resources across borders.” 
"This grant comes on the heels of the passage of the bill establishing a regional dispatch center in our communities, and will supply the necessary mapping technology to make it successful," said Representative Jeffrey Roy (D-Franklin). "Combining the dispatches for all of the towns will improve the response times, save taxpayer dollars, and make the citizens of the region safer. And this grant provides some of the state-of-the-art tools and latest technology that will enhance public safety." 
“I am pleased that Franklin’s innovative GIS mapping project is receiving this critical funding. The project is a terrific example of communities collaborating on creative, more efficient ways to provide local services and use information technology effectively,” said Senator Karen Spilka (D-Ashland). 
“I am so pleased to see the towns awarded this grant, which will be an important step towards developing the Regional Dispatch Center,” said Senator Richard Ross (R-Wrentham). “This innovative plan will go great lengths toward providing high quality and efficient emergency response in the communities.” 
“As a citizen, an on-call firefighter/EMT, and a State Representative of this community, I am extremely proud that we have been awarded the Community Innovation Challenge (CIC) Grant. This will help fund our Regional Public Safety Dispatch Center which will provide enhanced services to our towns, resulting in more rapid emergency response while providing the cost benefit of shared services,” said Representative Shawn Dooley (R-Norfolk)

Photo courtesy of Rep Jeff Roy

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

"we are finally out of the starting blocks"

One of the key areas for cost savings is regionalization of services and the regional emergency dispatch center has been a long time coming.
Franklin, Norfolk, Plainville and Wrentham leaders will meet next month to establish a governing board for the Metacomet Emergency Communications Center, also known as the towns’ regional dispatch operation. 
The four communities will share ownership of the center, housed in the Wrentham Public Safety Building. They have already penned an inter-municipal agreement. 
Named after King Phillip, war chief of the Wampanoag Native American tribe, the center will occupy its own district and have its own employees thanks to recently passed legislation.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News:

The Long Range Financial Planning Committee included this item among their recommendations

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

In the News: no fireworks, crash death, regional dispatch, national trails day

Franklin cancels fireworks for Fourth of July

The traditional fireworks spectacle for the town’s Fourth of July celebrations will not take place this year because construction for the new high school has left no room for a launch site.

Franklin man killed in I-495 crash

A Franklin man has died after an accident on I-495 on Sunday, the Massachusetts State Police have said.

Bill for Franklin's regional dispatch finds support in House

With help from the town’s freshman representative, legislation filed last year to establish a district for a regional dispatch center with Norfolk, Plainville and Wrentham has moved closer to the House floor.

Despite the sweltering heat, advocates for the Southern New England Trunkline Trail (SNETT) were out in full force on Saturday to commemorate the American Hiking Society’s 21st annual National Trails Day.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

"911 calls from cellphones go first to state police"

“Does the system work? It does. Is it the best we could have? Probably not,” Landry said. “The system does work in theory, but issues come up now and then that have to be addressed and corrected.” 
Landry said there were also occasional problems before the intermunicipal agreement went into effect in 2009. 
“The way dispatch handles a call, regardless of who is doing it, your own (dispatcher) or a regional dispatcher, those problems don’t go away,” he said. “You just try to get better with what you do. That’s the plan, and hopefully that’s how it will work out.”

Read more:

With the growth of regionalization and the cost benefits that it can bring, the key lesson to take away is to have a process and a way of adjusting the process as necessary. If you don't have a process, you can't expect to give the problem away and have it work. And if you do have a process, from time to time, you will need to review and adjust the process.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

495/MetroWest Public Forums Set

Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

via Commonwealth Conversations: Transportation by Klark Jessen on 5/16/11

Metrowest map2 The Patrick-Murray Administration's Executive Office of Housing & Economic Development is partnering with Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission, the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, the MetroWest Regional Collaborative, the 495/MetroWest Partnership, and Mass Audubon to engage the 495/MetroWest region in preparing a comprehensive land use and development plan.

The plan will identify priority development and preservation areas and significant transportation and infrastructure investments for the region.
The planning process will include asking what transportation needs should be addressed, where open space should be preserved, and how to ensure continued economic prosperity in the region.

The public is invited to contribute to the vision for the 495/Metrowest region at two upcoming public forums:

Wednesday, June 15, Westborough High School, 90 West Main Street
Tuesday, June 21, Boxborough Holiday Inn, 242 Adams Place
Each forum includes an Open House, 4:30-6:30 p.m. followed by a Public Meeting, 7:00 p.m.

You may RSVP to:
Learn more on the web about the 495 Metrowest Partnership.

Things you can do from here:

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

"Regionalization ... is going to come anyways"

Meanwhile, work is continuing on a study examining the feasibility of regionalizing dispatch services in Franklin, Wrentham, Norfolk and Plainville thanks to a $44,000 state grant. Franklin is only looking at fire dispatch while the other towns are examining police and fire dispatch. 
Employees from Pennsylvania consulting firm L.R. Kimball have gathered call volume and financial data and met with emergency officials in the four towns, Franklin Fire Chief Gary McCarraher said. 
"If it works out, fine," McCarraher said. "If it doesn't, at least we know what not to do. ... There's no downside to participating in this."

Read more:

Franklin, MA

Monday, March 28, 2011

"Franklin has historically been very proactive"

Franklin, Wrentham, Norfolk and Plainville received a $44,000 grant to study regionalizing dispatching. Franklin has applied with Millis, Walpole and Foxborough for a $40,000 grant to evaluate regionalizing some health services, town leaders said. 
Regionalization "is where it needs to go at least for certain services," Town Administrator Jeffrey Nutting said, noting efforts to form multi-town partnerships have been slow throughout the state. "There's a lot more ownership at the town level than other parts of the country and there's a fear of loss of control. There's just a litany of barriers that have to be overcome to make this a success." 
Fire officials met Thursday in Wrentham to kick off the study, which will be performed by Pennsylvania consulting firm L.R. Kimball. While the other three towns are examining regionalizing fire and police dispatch, Franklin is only looking at fire dispatching, Fire Chief Gary McCarraher said. 
"There is a lot of commonality and the fact of the matter is we're all in the same scenario in that we need to be doing more services for less money," McCarraher said. "Is there any potential savings in joining together in dispatch? I think we'll explore all those options in an attempt to provide faster, better services."
Read more:

Franklin, MA

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Hopedale TM moves on regionalizing

Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

via The Milford Daily News News RSS by Melanie Graham/Daily News staff on 6/16/10

With the blessing of Town Meeting, the School Department will take another step toward regionalizing with the Mendon-Upton school district.
The School Department will now send three local representatives to be a part of a joint regionalization committee with Mendon-Upton, who said earlier this week they're ready to begin formal discussions with Hopedale.
Town Meeting also approved the rezoning of approximately 14 acres off South Main Street, said Town Coordinator Gene Phillips. The article, which was presented by developer Topsfield Associates, called for the land to be converted from residential to commercial.
In April, Big Y Foods Inc. announced it was interested in placing a supermarket on the rezoned site, which sits on land in both Milford and Hopedale.
The School Department's $75,000 mold clean-up bill also saw approval last night as well as the town's $17.97 million budget, Phillips said.
For more coverage read Thursday's print edition of The Milford Daily News. To subscribe, call 888-MY-PAPER. You can also buy an e-edition of the paper by clicking on the icon at the top of the site.

Things you can do from here:

Monday, April 26, 2010

"integral to the excellence of our libraries"

Library use has boomed as the recession pinched people's budgets for books, music and films. Patrons borrowed 57.7 million items from Massachusetts libraries last fiscal year, the 10th annual increase in a row and up from 45.7 million in 2001, says the Board of Library Commissioners.
Libraries have also seen a surge of people using their computers to search and apply for jobs.
"I know that the libraries in MetroWest are busier than ever," said Sunny Vandermark, administrator of the MetroWest Regional Library System.

Massachusetts library systems to be consolidated, staff cut

The consolidation of the various inter-library systems, if done properly, should still be able to provide the valuable inter-library loan services that are available today with less cost.

Franklin is already in a partnership with Medway by sharing our Library Director. This is a win-win situation. It reduces our expenses (Medway helps pay) and helps Medway maintain their library status.

Such regionalization efforts on animal control (with Bellingham) and recreation (also with Medway) need to continue to be explored to help Franklin and other neighboring communities cope with increasing costs.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

School district regionalization - historical background

Unlike school districts in many other states, which are often separate government entities with independent taxing authority, school districts in Massachusetts are very much dependent on the cities and towns that they serve. In colonial times, districts were established by any group of families willing to support a school, and at one point there were 2,250 districts in the state. In 1882, the state passed a law that consolidated districts by giving authority only to municipalities to fund and manage school districts. With 351 towns and cities in the state, however, local control has meant that there remain a large number of districts relative to the state's student population, including many very small districts in relatively less populated areas.

Beginning with the post-war period, the 1949 Regional Schools Act authorized the regional district as an independent legal entity to encourage small towns to form consolidated school districts with a single school committee and specified rights and obligations for member towns. Though the state envisioned consolidation, the number of districts actually increased over the next 20 years, from 355 to over 390, as small towns preserved independent elementary districts while creating regional secondary schools. Special commission reports and Board of Education guidelines in the 1960’s promoted the formation of more K–12 districts on the grounds that they would improve educational programs and streamline governance, with little avail.

Real progress toward consolidation did not begin until Chapter 71, the state’s regional school law, was amended in 1974 to expand financial incentives for districts to regionalize. The aid formula was based on enrollment, which provided some incentive for districts to fully regionalize grades K–12. After these reforms the number of school districts declined to the current level of 329, not including charter schools. However, regional school aid was phased out in the early 1990s with the passage of the Massachusetts Education Reform Act, and the amount that existing districts had been receiving up that point was included in the district’s Chapter 70 aid. Since the 1990s only 13 new K–12 districts have been formed, mostly the result of consolidation of regional secondary districts and their members into one K–12 regional district.

from the Education Research Brief - School District Consolidation in Massachusetts: Opportunities and Obstacles

Franklin, MA

Sunday, March 14, 2010

In the News - regionalization

The proposal would also look at the merits of a regional dispatch or communications center.
Such a system would not only save money, but use manpower more efficiently, Thompson said.
"For the police side, it's an opportunity to reduce liability, particularly for holding prisoners," he said.
In a regional lockup, deputies would pick up prisoners from all the police departments, bring them to the facility, feed them, and then drive them to court the following day, or the next time the court is open.
The communications center would also be for all the police and fire departments, with trained emergency dispatchers working the phones.

Public safety officials say regionalization worth considering

from The Milford Daily News News RSS 

Franklin, MA

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

In the News - regionalization, elderly growth

One of the avenues to explore to more effectively utilize the limited funding available and maintain services is regionalization. Franklin and Bellingham share animal services. Franklin and Medway share library and recreation services. Franklin and Medway share nursing services for seniors.

This article shows other communities are considering additional services for regionalization.

Medway mulls regionalizing nursing, dispatch

from The Milford Daily News News RSS

Presenting data already collected for the foundation, Boston University professor Lorenz Finison told the commission yesterday that the regional population of residents 75 or older in 2000 is projected to grow about 60 percent by 2030. The study area includes the foundation's coverage zone of 25 cities and towns, a swath that stretches from Needham to Westborough and from Hudson to Bellingham.

Group discusses MetroWest's elderly population

from The Milford Daily News News RSS

Sunday, November 15, 2009


Regionalization, a dirty word for some but one of the realistic ways to tackle the issue of providing appropriate services at a reasonable cost is the topic of the video.

There is a new Regional Advisory Commission underway to explore opportunities in this area.

Monday, November 9, 2009

In the News - regionalization, Vietnam, Faithful Nine

Franklin looks at regionalizing services

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Regionalization - one way to save money

Regionalization is one way local communities should explore to save money and still provide the required services. Franklin has started this effort with Medway by sharing the Library Director and Recreation programs. Ayer and Shirley are looking at regionalizing their schools.
Ayer and Shirley officials said it makes sense to join together for several reasons. Not only do the towns border each other and share activities such as youth sports, but the merger would solve school building needs.

Read more about their regionalization efforts in the Boston Globe here

What services do you think would be worthy of discussion for Franklin to regionalize? With which community?

Sunday, January 4, 2009

In the news: libraries are busy, regionalization to save costs

Libraries have also become hubs for public internet access, as they provide Web service and the computers needed to use it.

And the most attractive part about libraries in a rotten economy: They're cheap, if not outright free.

Celeste Bruno, a spokeswoman for the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners, said about 2 million more books and other materials were borrowed from libraries in the 2007-2008 fiscal year than in the previous year. About 54 million items were borrowed that year, she said, plus about 2.2 million people participated in library programs during that time.

"This is a big surge," said Bruno.

Circulation rates are up in local towns in the past few months: Milford is up 30 percent, Franklin by 21 percent, Medway by 16 percent and Millis by 18 percent, she said. But as the demand rises, already thin library budgets could get strained even more with the likelihood of more than $2 billion in state budget cuts.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

The two towns are talking about sharing some services, such as merging transfer stations each community operates in the area. Sudbury capped its dump years ago, and Wayland recently began that process for its own landfill.

But if the two towns worked together, O'Brien said there's a possibility of other projects, such as erecting a solar power panel farm on that wide-open space.

It could generate electricity for municipal buildings in both communities, plus the towns could tap the landfills for methane gas as another energy source, he said. Such a project could save on energy costs and set a standard for the future.

"There is a tremendous savings opportunity for the community. But if we do it right, it's a potential model site for the rest of the commonwealth," said O'Brien.

As cities and towns face ever-tightening local budgets, municipal officials are looking across town lines at the potential of sharing services and splitting the costs with neighboring communities.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Q & A 8 - Will there be continuous overrides? Nutting (audio)

From the Franklin Override Information Forum coordinated by the Joint Parent Communication Councils and held on Wednesday, 5/28/08.

Q - Father comes back appreciating the comment on the chorus. If there is a scale, where are we on the scale? Will there be continuous overrides? And we haven't even talked about the high school problem.

A - Nutting, Franklin gives a high quality service for a low cost. By any standard, we provide more or better service for less dollars. Overrides will not go away. Until the state and the citizens decide that there needs to be another way, it won't go away but it will not be every year. Most of the requirements are out of our control. Regionalization is an option but it will take a lot of pain.

Time: 4 minutes, 25 seconds

MP3 File

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Regionalization, consolidation, two avenues to explore

In order to maintain a sufficient level of service in any industry, it is imperative to look at the process and the cost drivers. While much has been said and written on the rising costs for employees and they generally account for much of the overall costs in a company; the employees are only one leg of the three leg stool: people, process, technology.

Technology for technology sake is expensive. Technology implemented properly should enable the the people to execute the process more effectively and more efficiently, hence in a less costly manner. Then and only then does technology provide a return on investment in a short period. But you don't look at technology first.

Assume you have the best people, and start by looking at the process. Are they working in the most efficient and effective manner? If not, identify the steps in the process that hinder effectiveness and make changes. Goldratt's Theory of Constraints is a good model to follow.

As you work the constraints out of the process, you can look to apply technology. You may also find that the employees require additional training or that some may not be a good fit for the new process. Making those adjustments on a continuous and phased process will ensure continued improvement.

Part of the process evaluation should include an examination of the scope of work. Massachusetts is a commonwealth of 351 communities all self governed, most with their own municipal infrastructure: police, fire, library, schools, etc. It is time to look carefully at some of these areas to see where and how either regionalization or consolidation can help each local community continue to provide services but at a reasonable cost to the community.

Franklin has taken steps in this area with the consolidation of facilities, data processing and the current discussion underway on the consolidation of maintenance services. Properly done this will ensure delivery of service at the best cost. It may not guarantee a reduced cost, some cost factors will still be rising but the management of them will be done one time instead of multiple times (one department, not two or three).

The Milford Daily News last week had an article on this topic and the Marlborough Fire Chief was quoted as saying:
"Is (regionalization) possible? Absolutely," he said. "Is it feasible, able to be accomplished in a reasonable amount of time? No, not with what I'm looking at. I'm not opposed to regionalization or the concept of it, but there's a lot that goes into the makeup of trying to regionalize."
It will take time but the time to start is now. This is no reason to wait.