Montague Selectboard considers providing $40K to Brick House using cannabis impact fees

  • The Brick House Community Resource Center on Third Street in Turners Falls. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

Staff Writer
Published: 1/27/2022 4:41:05 PM
Modified: 1/27/2022 4:39:49 PM

MONTAGUE — The Brick House Community Resource Center has proposed the town allocate $40,390 of its cannabis impact fee money to support the Strengthening Families Program, a science-based, substance abuse prevention program.

Town Administrator Steve Ellis, speaking to the Selectboard on Monday, said while The Brick House’s proposal was the only one the town received in its request for proposals period, it is an “outstanding proposal.” Still, Selectboard Chair Rich Kuklewicz chose not to officially approve the proposal due to an absence of Brick House representation at Monday’s meeting and a signed contract.

“They have specifically shown us that they have the capacity in terms of already-trained staff who are ready to go, the horsepower and the location,” Ellis said, “and the connection to our local community residents who might benefit to implement the Strengthening Families model, which is a family-based, evidence-based program that their staff has received training in previously.”

The Strengthening Families Program, founded by psychologist and University of Utah professor emeritus Karol Kumpfer, is a science-based, substance abuse prevention program recognized by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. According to the program’s website, the curriculum includes three 14-week courses on parent training, children’s skills training and family life skills training. Parents are taught “to increase desired behaviors in children by using attention and rewards, clear communication, effective discipline, substance use education, problem solving and limit setting.” In turn, children “learn effective communication, understanding feelings, social skills, problem solving, resisting peer pressure, consequences of substance use and compliance with parental rules.”

Ellis said The Brick House intends to roll out the program in two waves, with one in the spring and one in the summer. The organization is able to administer services to two cohorts of family participants, affecting around 24 families.

The town’s Cannabis Impact Stabilization Account funding currently includes around $65,000 from community impact fees paid by 253 Farmacy — Montague’s only operational marijuana dispensary — that is left from the prior year, Ellis said. The dispensary had initially paid around $235,000 in fees, but most of the funding has been allocated toward other purposes, such as the addition of a licensed substance abuse counselor who works for both the Gill-Montague Regional School District and Franklin County Technical School.

Ellis also announced that 253 Farmacy has paid the town $390,842 in new community impact fees to uphold the requirements of its host community agreement for 2021.

Reach Julian Mendoza at 413-772-0261, ext. 261 or jmendoza@recorder.com.


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