Saturday - October 5, 2019
8:00 am – 3:00 pm

The Massachusetts Selectmen’s Association is partnering with area groups to host a Western Massachusetts Fall Conference on Saturday, Oct. 5, at UMass Amherst.

The event will begin with breakfast and a presentation from the Rural Policy Advisory Commission about its new Rural Plan report.

A cabinet-level official from the Baker-Polito administration will deliver the keynote address, followed by a panel presentation featuring western Massachusetts legislators.

Following a light lunch, there will be four concurrent breakout sessions on the following topics: growing partnerships, creative solutions for growing revenue, growing populations, and growing housing opportunities.

The Selectmen’s Association is partnering with the Berkshire County Selectmen’s Association, the Franklin County Selectmen’s Association, the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission, the Franklin Regional Council of Governments, and the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission to bring a new event to local officials in western Massachusetts.

The cost for the conference is $35.


8–8:30 a.m.

8:30-8:45 a.m.
Opening Remarks and Overview
Representative Mindy Domb, 3rd Hampshire District
Geoff Beckwith, Executive Director & CEO, MMA

8:45-9:45 a.m.
Rural Policy Advisory Commission Plan Presentation
Paul Mark, State Representative, Berkshire 2nd District
Jay Coburn, Executive Director, Cape Cod Community Development Partnership

9:45-10 a.m.

10–10:30 a.m.
Keynote Address
Mike Kennealy, Secretary, Executive Office of Housing & Economic Development

10:30–11:30 a.m.
Legislative Panel Presentation
Senator Eric Lesser, First Hampden and Hampshire District
Senator Jo Comerford, Hampshire, Franklin & Worcester District
Senator Adam Hinds, Berkshire, Hampshire, Franklin & Hampden District
Representative Natalie Blais, 1st Franklin District

11:30-12:15 p.m.

12:15-1:15 p.m.
Breakout Session 1: Growing Our Partnerships
Case studies of how municipalities large and small have reached across boundaries to partner with other communities on sharing services, loaning employees, and regionalization. Lessons from Division of Local Services.
Joshua Garcia, Town Administrator, Blandford
Bob Dean, Director of Regional Services, Franklin Regional Council of Governments
Jason Hoch, Town Manager, Williamstown

Moderator: Eric Weiss, Manager of Regional and Municipal Programs, PVPC

Breakout Session 2: Growing Our Housing
What municipalities have done to promote housing development – CPA programs, housing trusts, mortgage assistance, home repairs, providing town land, accessory dwelling units, Housing Choice programs.
Katherine Lacey, AICP, Senior Planner, Massachusetts Housing Partnership
Walter Ramsey, Town Planner, Montague
Joanne Campbell, Executive Director, Valley Community Development Corporation

Moderator: Paul DeRensis, Selectman, Sherborn

1:15-1:30 p.m.

1:30-2:30 p.m.
Breakout Session 3: Growing Our Revenue
Rationalizing PILOT payments for state-owned land; local tax options including CPA, hotel and meal, bed and breakfast and status of other local option proposals; cannabis taxation and host agreements; state grant programs advocacy for reducing regulatory requirements for municipalities
Jack Hunter, Director of Planning and Community Development, Town of Hudson
Chris Ketchen, Chief Administrative Officer, Lee and Lenox

Moderator: Jim Lovejoy, Select Board Member, Mount Washington

Breakout Session 4: Growing Our Population
Marketing our entire region and improving infrastructure to attract residents and businesses.
Jeanne LeClair, Economic Development Director, Gateway Hilltown Collaborative
Susan Strate, Population Estimates Program Manager, Donahue Institute
Nate Keenan, Deputy Director, Massachusetts Clean Water Trust

Moderator: Jonathan Edwards, Select Board Member, Whately

2:30-3 p.m.
Informal Discussion of Next Steps & Conference Conclusion

UMass Amherst Campus Center

MMA Senior Member Services Coordinator Devon Elizabeth Williams
Massachusetts Selectmen's Association