The Town of Weymouth was recently awarded two Community Compact Cabinet grants totaling $35,000 from the Baker-Polito Administration to update town wide human resource policies as well as conduct a study to improve economic development in Jackson Square.
Now in its 5th year, the Community Compact is a voluntary, mutual agreement entered into between the Commonwealth and an individual city or town. As a member of the Community Compact, the municipality agrees to implement one or more best practices that they select from a variety of areas, and the Commonwealth agrees to provide technical assistance in support of the community’s chosen best practices. The Department of Revenue’s Division of Local Services administers the program which provides funding for municipalities to achieve the goals and objectives of the Community Compact Best Practices.
“I want to thank the Baker-Polito Administration for continuing to support the Community Compact program and provide municipalities like Weymouth with valuable resources to achieve some of the identified best practices and goals,” said Mayor Hedlund. “This funding will allow us to complete and prioritize operational projects and studies that will result in improvements in town governance and at a key village center.”
Weymouth submitted applications for funding to support an in-depth review of town wide human resources policies. The Town received $10,000 to complete the work and will achieve the goals of the Human Resources Best Practice, specifically to develop employee policies and procedures for things such as discrimination, sexual harassment, information technology use, drug and alcohol use, use of social media, and use of town-owned vehicles. The Town’s human resource policies are comprised of over 60 sub-policies and are in need of review and modernization as several were approved over 20 years ago.
The funds will allow the Town to update the policies which will reduce risk and liability to the town and provide for a policy that can be used practically as well as enforced as needed. An updating of the policies also will aid employees in understanding operations, opportunities for professional development through an evaluation process, benefits, day to day expectations, and provide clarity on systems and procedures to new hires.
In addition, funding in the amount of $25,000 was awarded to complete a strategic plan for Jackson Square. This project falls under the Housing and Economic Development Best Practice to Create Opportunities for “Engaging Diverse Stakeholders” in economic development efforts, such as assisting with identification of priority development projects, improving local permitting processes, and proactively addressing obstacles to housing accessibility and affordability as well as job creation.
“This Community Compact Award will enable the Planning Department to engage the residents and business owners within the vicinity of Jackson Square in developing a clear vision for the Square,” said Planning and Community Development Director, Bob Luongo. “By developing specific goals and objectives as well as the tools necessary to implement specific actions deemed necessary, we can create a more vibrant, pedestrian friendly village center.”
The funding awarded through the Community Compact will support the completion of a strategic plan for Jackson Square. The Town will hire a consultant to work with the Department of Planning and Community Development to conduct an analysis of opportunities including: a zoning bylaw review and rewrite, particularly to encourage transit-oriented development utilizing smart growth principles and address non-conforming or inappropriately zoned uses; and an environmental analysis of critical natural resources including the Herring Run and Back River Trail, to ensure future development protects and preserves these resources. Overall, this proposal would result in a strategic plan for Jackson Square that aligns with the goals of the various studies conducted in Weymouth.
The Town previously took advantage of the Community Compact program in 2016 to review and establish financial policies for the Town. Working with the Commonwealth’s Division of Local Services Technical Assistance Bureau, the policy recommendations addressed budgetary matters and fiscal planning, as well as policy objectives underpinning key, day-to-day financial management operations. Utilizing the FY20 Community Compact funding, the Town hopes to achieve similar objectives in modernizing and improving municipal operations and governance.
To learn more about the Community Compact grant program, visit: https://www.weymouth.ma.us/mayor/pages/community-compact.