Photo: (from left) Patrice Garvin, Mark Paolillo, Jim Williams, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, State Rep. Dave Rogers, Adam Dash.
The Board of Selectmen’s Room at Belmont Town Hall was packed Tuesday, Jan. 30 with town and public safety officials, staff and residents for the dual purposes of greeting the state’s Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, and to recognize the town being the 327th grant recipient to join the state in supporting “best practices.”
Polito and Board of Selectmen Chair Jim Williams signed the Community Compact agreement, a voluntary, mutual agreement in which cities and towns choose to implement method or techniques that reflect needed areas of improvement which the Commonwealth helps accomplish by providing grants, resources, and incentives.
Belmont will use a total of $30,000 in grants to develop a set of formal financial policies and practices and create a long-range financial forecasting model which could be used to review pensions and other retirement obligations.
“It’s a hallmark of the cooperation between state and local government that is so important,” said State Rep. Dave Rogers of the state program that dates back to January 2015.
But the state funds would likely have stayed on Beacon Hill if Belmont Town Administrator Patrice Garvin’s had not made a quick decision to apply for funds from a program she had used in her previous position.
“You should talk to the real hero,” Williams said pointing to Garvin.
Less than two weeks on the job, Garvin was able to secure the $30,000 by using her own initiative and past experience with the state program.
Being a member of the compact “benefits you on every grant you apply for,” said Garvin.
When she was being interviewed for the Belmont position, Garvin told the selectmen and staff she would seek to increase outside sources of funding as to diversify the town’s revenue stream, critical in a town that relies heavily on residential real estate taxes.
Garvin got her chance to mobilize Belmont to procure state grants soon after arriving on the job on Jan. 16 when she discovered while the Selectmen approved joining the pact with the state, it hadn’t moved forward with the implementation
“When I came in, someone casually said the board had just agreed to join.”
“For me, it’s just a no-brainer. Even though the board hadn’t yet begun the application process, I decided to do so,” said Garvin. “I went online [to the compact’s website] that day to apply and the next day we had a day that the Lt. Governor was coming. It was really quick,” said Garvin.
Garvin said in her experience, municipalities need to be active in seeking intergovernmental or private funding sources.
“It’s a piece of the toolbox that you need to get more money in the future,” she said.