The Massachusetts Association of Regional Planning Agencies (MARPA) represents the state’s 13 RPA's, which taken together, encompass all of the Commonwealth’s 351 cities and towns. For five decades, the Commonwealth’s RPA's, individually and through their involvement in MARPA, have supported responsible planning and regionalism across the state, and continue to move Massachusetts forward towards its goals. The greatest challenge for local governments however is the ever-so changing climate of municipal budgets. The existing economic climate is shifting the fiscal landscape making local budgets increasingly tighter than ever before resulting in the lack capacity to support the kind of planning that is necessary to achieve thoughtful and sustainable growth and development. Over the years, RPA's have been able to help strengthen local government efforts and have built strong relationships to move the regional agenda forward, part of which is hugely credited to the to the availability of District Local Technical Assistance (DLTA) through the State Legislature, with support of the Governor of Massachusetts.
DLTA funds are distributed among the RPA's to provide the Commonwealth’s cities and towns with technical assistance to help move municipalities forward local and state key initiatives. This funding has allowed RPA's including the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission (PVPC) to offer free technical assistance to all member municipalities in two broad areas:
- Land Use and Sustainable Development; "Planning Ahead for Housing" (or to help reach the Statewide Housing Production Goal) or "Planning Ahead for Growth" - Contact Susan Westa, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Municipal Partnerships and Regional Collaboration, technical assistance to advance Community Compact Cabinet activities - Contact Eric Weiss, email@example.com - Click Here to learn more about Shared Municipal Service opportunities and current projects.
The PVPC is currently soliciting written requests from its 43 member communities seeking to receive technical assistance under the Commonwealth's 2018 DLTA Program. For DLTA year 2018, this fund received an annual appropriation of $2.8 million to be distributed statewide to regional planning agencies to support local and regional planning and service provision projects. PVPC anticipates receiving an allocation of approximately $250,000 for its staff to provide technical assistance to address eligible DLTA projects submitted by PVPC member communities.