Local and state officials were in Ashland on the 6th to recognize Hopkinton, Ashland, and Medway for receiving a $15,000 grant, which will go toward the regionalization of each town's food inspection program. The Community Innovation Challenge Grant started last fiscal year as a way to offer an incentive for towns across the state to work collectively to provide services such as inspections or public safety. The hope is for towns to creatively brainstorm on ways how to save money and provide services more efficiently.
This year, 285 communities applied for over 100 grants totaling over $21 million. Out of the $4 million allotted to award out, the food inspection one that the three towns applied for was chosen because of its innovativeness.
As part of the innovation grant, the use of technology is a key component to help streamline the inspection process as well as data entry. As part of the grant money, the towns will utilize the WinWam computerized system, which is also used by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
The program will be going live this fall. The Community Innovation Challenge Grant is also the same one that will regionalize the Hopkinton and Ashland fire departments.