Jesse Gordon for Randolph Town Council >
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Gordon calls for full-time town grant-writer
Jesse Gordon, progressive Democratic candidate for Town Council at-large, called for hiring a town grant-writer this week. "Randolph has missed opportunities to apply for state, federal, and private organization grants for years," says Gordon. "It's part of the reason that we haven't gotten our fair share, and I want to change that." Randolph employed grant-writers for some school projects, and has written successful grant proposals from several town departments, but has not had a dedicated grant-writer since converting to a Town Council/Town Manager form of government.
Gordon points out that the position will increase town revenue more than it will cost in the town budget. "Yes, we'll have to add a budget line item to pay a grant-writer's salary. But that salary will be more than paid for by incoming grants, maybe even by the end of the first year," Gordon estimates. "Right now, we're asking our town department heads to write their own grants -- we should let them focus on managing their departments, and let a professional grant-writer work with each department head to leverage outside funding for each department."
Gordon's campaign platform calls for several programs that could be funded by state and federal grants. Gordon cites as an example the Blue Hills Vocational-Technical High School grant proposal for $84.8 million: that grant was accepted by the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) including a $43 million contribution by the Commonwealth, with the rest shared among the nine towns that send students to the school. "The Blue Hills Vo-Tec superintendent submitted a grant request five times before it was accepted in its current form -- that's a lot of work, but worth it," says Gordon.
Gordon adds that the MSBA grant was "thinking big" by gathering up all of the projects that will be needed in coming decades into one full-cost package. "We asked for a lot of money, and we got a lot of money -- that's the way it should be done for our other Randolph schools too. It takes just as much effort to ask for $84,000 as asking for $84 million -- so we did the right thing in asking for $84 million!" The MSBA grant covers HVAC replacement, new roofin\g, new windows, and numerous other infrastructure improvements at the high school. Randolph's 31% share of the project would be paid over the next 29 years; 31% of the current students in the school are Randolph residents.
Gordon cites his own professional experience as a potential contribution to a Randolph grant-writing team effort. "I participated for years writing grants to the federal and state governments and to other organizations. I wrote successful grants to federal agencies like EPA and NMFS, as well as to state agencies like MA-EOEA," the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs, which is the Commonwealth's equivalent of the EPA. "For example, one EOEA grant outlined for municipalities how they could improve recreational water resources, which we called the 'North Coastal Watershed Action Plan.' It's still available online at www.NorthCoastal.net." Gordon's report included a 19-page "Funding Sources" appendix of grants applicable to Massachusetts towns.
Gordon concludes that a town grant-writer can ensure that Randolph takes advantage of environmental, educational, and economic development opportunities. "Randolph needs to ask for grant funding in order to get grant funding. Sure, we'll be turned down sometimes -- grant agencies can say 'No' but sometimes they'll say 'Yes.' I call that 'Jesse's first rule of politics': 'They can't say Yes if you don't ask.' So let's ask!"
Gordon's campaign team is distributing flyers across town over the next few weeks with details of Gordon economic policy. The flyers can also be found at www.JesseGordon.com.