The conference will open with a legislative panel featuring (from l-r) ​​Rep. Natalie Blais, Rep. Daniel Carey and Sen. Joanne Comerford.

The Massachusetts Select Board Association will host its second Western Massachusetts Municipal Conference on Saturday, April 9, in Easthampton.

The event will bring together regional stakeholders, including municipal officials, planning agencies and legislators from Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden and Hampshire counties, to address challenges facing the region.

Conference goals are to promote sustainable cross-governmental partnerships across western Massachusetts, to share best practices for adaptation to and mitigation of challenges facing the four counties, and to advocate more effectively for the region.

The conference is co-sponsored by the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission, the Franklin Regional Council of Governments, the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, and the Rural Policy Advisory Commission.

The conference will open with a legislative panel featuring ​​Rep. Natalie Blais of the 1st Franklin District, Rep. Daniel Carey of the 2nd Hampshire District, and Sen. Joanne Comerford of the Hampshire, Franklin and Worcester District. The panel, focused on priorities for the next round of American Rescue Plan Act aid (“ARPA 2.0”) and the remainder of the legislative session, will be moderated by Williamstown Select Board Member Andy Hogeland, the first vice president of the MSA.

Following the panel, a number of workshops will cover topics such as police reform and its impact on small towns, ARPA funding and economic recovery from the pandemic, the impacts of post-COVID population shifts on housing affordability, and the state of public infrastructure in western Massachusetts.

Workshop speakers will include:
• Pittsfield Police Chief and Peace Officer Standards and Training Commissioner Michael Wynn and Deerfield Police Chief John Paciorek discussing police reform
• Heath Fahle, assistant secretary for federal funds at the Executive Office for Administration and Finance and Holyoke Community Development Director Alicia Zoeller discussing ARPA funding and economic recovery from COVID-19
• Great Barrington Assistant Town Manager/Director of Planning Christopher Rembold; Alyssa Larose, real estate project manager/housing development director with the Franklin County Regional Housing and Redevelopment Authority; and Jessica Atwood, economic development program manager with the Franklin Regional Council of Governments, discussing housing affordability
• State Auditor Suzanne Bump discussing public infrastructure in western Massachusetts

The conference will be held at Easthampton High School at 70 Williston Ave. Registration and networking will begin at 8 a.m., and the program will run from 8:30 a.m. to noon.
Boxed lunches will be available for those who would like to take lunch to go or stay for networking after the conference.

Due to COVID, attendees of this in-person meeting will be required to show proof of being fully vaccinated (card, photo or QR code) on the day of the event. (Religious or medical exemptions are allowed with a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours.) Masks are optional. These safety protocols are subject to change based on the latest public health data and guidance.

The registration fee is $35. Visit for registration and the conference agenda.

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