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    Jesse Gordon for Randolph Town Council > Events> Grants

    How Randolph Misses Out on Grants

    The Town of Randolph missed numerous grant opportunities this week by failing to send an official representative to the 2019 Statewide Municipal Partnerships Conference. The Massachusetts Director of Regional Public Health, Ron O'Connor, introduced himself at his workshop with, "I have money for grants!" That was the primary purpose of the conference -- for the Commonwealth to inform municipalities about grant opportunities and cost-saving collaboration opportunities. I list several below -- a sampling of what opportunities Randolph is currently missing.

    The conference was hosted by MAPC, the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, and was attended by several hundred municipal representatives. Randolph is entitled to send two representatives to all MAPC meetings, but has not had an official MAPC representative for years now. I myself volunteered as MAPC representative in 2018, but the Town Council shelved my application -- so I have been attending MAPC meetings as an unofficial representative.

    Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) 2019 Statewide Municipal Partnerships Conference,
    announcing a new grant website for municipalities like Randolph to use, to find grants.

    A new state-run website for grant opportunities was unveiled at this conference -- mass.gov/community-compact-connector-campaign -- the keynote presentation by the Lieutenant Governor and Administration staff highlighted that new tool for state and federal grants applicable to municipalities, or by collaborative groups of towns. Randolph currently requires that the head of each department find and write their own grants -- which they only sometimes do, since they have numerous other duties -- and Randolph has avoided multi-town collaboration. I think Randolph should hire a full-time grant-writer, to take advantage of grants for just about every program our town runs -- and I also think that Randolph should collaborate with our neighboring towns on regional grants.

    An example of the current anti-grant attitude took place in May 2019. The Randolph Public Schools presented their annual budget with $83,731 allocated for a school grant-writer. The Town Council exercised a line-item-veto to disallow the grant-writer, in a 5-4 vote (Councilors Adams, Clerger, Clifton, and Huff-Larmond did the right thing and voted to keep the school grant-writer). Those who voted against the school grant-writer are "penny-wise and pound-foolish" -- the position would more than pay for itself! I list below well over $83,731 just in missed grant opportunities that I heard about at the MAPC conference -- the potential is for millions of dollars in state grants.

    I think it's time to ask the five Town Councilors who voted against the school grant-writer, "Why do you oppose using state funding for Randolph projects?" And "Can't we work collaboratively with neighboring towns on grant-funded multi-town projects?" And "Why haven't you sent a Randolph representative to MAPC to find out about more about both of those?" If elected, I will answer all those of those questions by pushing for a full-time grant-writer to apply for state and federal grants on dozens of projects to benefit Randolph!

    The following four examples are all available grant programs, for which I add details about Randolph programs that I would support -- and they provide examples for funds that a full-time grant-writer would make available for programs that would benefit ALL of the residents of Randolph. Five members of the Town Council opposed a full-time grant-writer in their May 2019 vote -- Councilors Alexopoulos, Alexopoulos, Burgess, Egan, and Goldstein -- ask those Good Ol' Boys why they oppose Randolph seeking state funding for these beneficial programs below!

    • Workforce Transit Grants: $4.5 million available (including $1.5 million from a federal seed grant); application due October 11, for "first-and-last-mile links." For example, Acton and seven neighboring towns funded a shuttle van to bring commuters from seven towns to the Acton commuter rail station. Randolph could establish a shuttle van to bring commuters from housing complexes to the Randolph/Holbrook commuter rail station and the Braintree MBTA station.

    • Public Health Shared Service Arrangements: Massachusetts wants to encourage "cross-jurisdictional sharing" by funding towns to work together to meet state and federal health mandates; applications are due November 5. Over 100 towns across Massachusetts currently get funding under this program -- but none on the South Shore! Randolph could use this grant to establish a water quality reporting system, with our Tri-Town Board of Water neighbors (Braintree and Holbrook), so residents can see the state-required water quality data that are collected daily but currently only reported annually!

    • Regional 9-1-1 District grants: The Commonwealth will fund 9-1-1 emergency dispatch systems, including new construction and modernized equipment, if towns collaborate on regional 9-1-1 systems. For example, Foxboro and three neighboring towns rebuilt their 9-1-1 dispatch system (now called SEMRECC, the South Eastern Massachusetts Regional Communications Center), with a new building on a hilltop in Foxboro -- they increased their state funding from a four-town sum of $190,000 annually before, to a collective $890,000 collectively afterwards. Randolph could modernize our 9-1-1 system, too, if the Town Council were willing to collaborate with Milton and Stoughton and other towns!

    • Material Recovery Facility grants: Recycling and trash removal costs have been rising since 2017, so the Commonwealth now provides grants for cooperative arrangements among towns for hazardous waste collection, solid waste removal, and recycling. The South Shore Recycling Cooperative includes 16 towns on the South Shore, but Randolph has not participated (this Cooperative did not even come up during last year's Town Council negotiation for a new trash removal service provider!). I spoke with the Municipal Assistance Coordinator for District "SouthEast 2" (Randolph's district), who said that the South Shore Recycling Cooperative would "welcome more communities" -- and that the town cost for trash services goes down for towns that do participate -- so why hasn't Randolph explored that?

    Hundreds of municipal representatives attending the MAPC Conference,
    but the Randolph Town Council has neglected to appoint an official representative in years --
    I volunteered myself in 2018, to no avail! -- so I attend as an unofficial representative.
Committee to Elect Jesse Gordon, 52 West St, Randolph MA 02368

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