Published in the July 25, 2018 edition.


LYNNFIELD — The town is looking to continue the Baker administration’s Community Compact program, Town Administrator Rob Dolan said during last week’s Board of Selectmen meeting.

Dolan said the Community Compact program “provides communities with financial support and technical support for particular projects that will help them both short-term and long-term.”

“This year, we are completing a regionalization project with the town of Wakefield to purchase software to allow more efficient permitting for the Fire Department, Health Department and Building Department,” said Dolan. “That is almost up and running.”

Dolan said the state recently released the Community Compact “best practices manual” to municipalities for fiscal year 2019.

“The most lengthy areas of interest pertain to education, finance, waste management, housing and economic development, competitiveness and citizen engagement,” said Dolan. “There are over 100 best practices.”

Dolan requested department heads to take a look at the manual to identify potential grants the town could apply for and hopefully receive.

“We will narrow that list down to about five for the Board of Selectmen’s consideration in August,” said Dolan. “We can begin submitting applications on Aug. 20.”

In addition to the software-permitting grant, the town received a Community Compact grant that was used to develop a 10-year capital plan. The town also received a grant that allowed financial transparency software to be added to the town website.

“We have benefitted from some very significant assistance from the state,” said Selectmen Chairman Dick Dalton.

Program overview

Baker signed an executive order creating the Community Compact program in January 2015. The selectmen signed onto the program in December 2016.

The program seeks to “champion municipal interests across all executive secretariats and agencies” in order to “develop, in consultation with cities and towns, mutual standards of best practices for both the state and municipalities.” By developing local Community Compacts, the program seeks to “create clear standards, expectations and accountability for both partners.”

The Community Compact program calls for reviewing “state regulatory burdens on municipalities and school districts, and recommend reforms to lessen the burdens on municipalities and school districts.” The program also seeks to “understand the major cost drivers of municipalities and school districts, and identify actions that the commonwealth, municipalities and school districts can take to control them.”

According to Baker’s executive order, the Community Compact program looks to “identify and remove barriers to economic development opportunities for cities and towns.” The program also seeks to “empower cities and towns and school districts by finding new ways for local governments to leverage state resources and capacity.”

“All agencies are subject to the governor’s control shall provide assistance to the Community Compact cabinet by sharing information and expertise as requested,” Baker wrote in the executive order.