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To help with pandemic recovery, FRCOG to buy supplies to sell to towns, businesses

  • DUNLAVY

Staff Writer
Published: 5/29/2020 1:01:22 PM

GREENFIELD — In an effort to save money, the Franklin Regional Council of Governments (FRCOG) is purchasing up to $50,000 of COVID-19 supplies that towns and businesses can then purchase from the agency.

The FRCOG Council met virtually last week to discuss how the organization could help during the pandemic recovery process and the four-phase reopening being guided by the governor.

FRCOG Executive Director Linda Dunlavy said the agency has been talking with towns throughout Franklin County about their personal protective equipment (PPE) needs at municipal offices and businesses.

“The state is not assisting them with the procurement of PPE, so we decided we should try to help the region,” Dunlavy said.

The council, made up of representatives from member towns, voted unanimously to allocate $50,000 from FRCOG’s undesignated free cash account for the initial purchase of supplies, which will include surgical and cloth masks, hand sanitizer, non-latex gloves, sanitizing wipes, face shields and thermometers, she said. The first order will not include gowns or goggles because no one has requested them.

FRCOG will have towns and businesses fill out order forms over the next couple of weeks, Dunlavy said. It will pay for the orders up front, but will expect payment from towns and businesses within 30 days of receipt.

Dunlavy said when FRCOG sent out a survey about this program, 100 towns and businesses responded and 95 or 96 said it would be helpful and that they would use it. She said FRCOG will be able to get a better price for the goods than the towns or businesses would because it will buy in bulk.

The Franklin County Chamber of Commerce, Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA) and Franklin County Community Development Corp. (CDC) are partnering with FRCOG, and will assist their members with filling out the order forms. John Waite, executive director of the Franklin County CDC, said his agency will be able to pay for supplies on behalf of its member businesses and will then collect from them.

Dunlavy said that once FRCOG receives payment from a town or business, that money will go into a revolving account to spend on the second and subsequent orders.

Council member and Deerfield Selectboard Chair Trevor McDaniel commented that his only concern is that FRCOG will lose money if some towns or businesses don’t pay, or don’t pay in a timely manner.

“I just want to know how risky this is,” he said. In the end, McDaniel endorsed the $50,000 allocation.

Similarly, members of the council agreed to see how the arrangement goes before placing a second large order, as many said they don’t want the agency to get into the business of collections.

After FRCOG places the first order, it will make plans for distribution. It isn’t clear yet whether there will be curbside pickup or some sort of handover.

“We’ll reassess things before every order to decide how to move forward,” Dunlavy noted.

In crafting their orders, Dunlavy suggests that towns consider what type of supplies they’ll need to hold Annual Town Meetings safely.

Reach Anita Fritz at 413-772-9591 or afritz@recorder.com.


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