Leyden Selectboard OKs grant application to fund public services feasibility study

  • The Leyden Selectboard approved the Public Safety Advisory Committee’s request to apply for a grant to fund a public safety services feasibility study. Staff photo/MARY BYRNE

Staff Writer
Published: 1/25/2022 4:53:23 PM

LEYDEN — Following a presentation by the Public Safety Advisory Committee, the Selectboard approved the committee’s request to apply for an Efficiency and Regionalization grant.

The grant, of up to $100,000, would allow Leyden to contract with the University of Massachusetts Boston’s Edward J. Collins Jr. Center for Public Management to conduct a public safety services feasibility study.

“We all know, with the statewide police reforms and testing requirements, training requirements are making it extremely expensive for small towns to maintain their own police departments,” said Jack Golden, a member of the Public Safety Advisory Committee. “This grant would allows us to hire a consultant to look at our policing needs and … look at all aspects of public safety, and find possible solutions for each of the four departments.”

The deadline to apply is Feb. 10, Golden noted. If awarded, the study would need to be completed by June 2023.

Golden said the individuals from the Collins Center are a “uniquely qualified group of people” with backgrounds in public safety and municipal finance. The group is associated with UMass Boston and, as a state agency, is less expensive than a private company would be, he said.

Two individuals from the center that the committee has already worked with hope to visit Leyden to meet with town officials for an opportunity to assess the town’s options.

“They’re not coming in with a pre-packaged plan,” he said, adding that there would be no charge for the visit.

Golden also emphasized to the Selectboard that garnering the grant would not commit the town to any one particular solution.

“The solutions could range from keeping it homegrown and everything staying in town, to partnering with another town, to partnering with multiple towns,” Golden said.

Ultimately, the direction the town takes will be up the Selectboard, he said. The grant will allow for the town to pay for an exploratory study.

Before the unanimous vote, Selectboard Chair Jeffrey Neipp assured residents that the current Police Department remains “up and functional.”

“(The department) ... will continue to gain momentum … until such time we see fit to move in a different direction,” Neipp explained.

Reporter Mary Byrne can be reached at mbyrne@recorder.com or 413-930-4429. Twitter: @MaryEByrne


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