Frequently Asked Questions
What is it?
HCG is a consortium of towns solving local problems by acting regionally. In 1998 the residents of Hampshire County voted to charter HCG as the successor to Hampshire County. We are a body politic and corporate; our charter ratified by the voters and by Massachusetts General Law 34B, §20(b). Our offices are still in the same place they have been since 1662, at the corner of King and Main in downtown Northampton.
Are services available to non-members?
Most of our services are available to all municipalities, schools, nonprofits, businesses and individuals in Western MA.
Who runs HCG?
Voters in member towns elect representatives to HCG at their municipal elections. Councilors set priorities, adopt a budget, oversee existing programs, and identify problems shared by their towns that may be amenable to a regional solution. They serve as trustees for the Hampshire County Group Insurance Trust. They provide a quasi-judicial function in tax abatement hearings and road petition hearings. Citizens are invited to contact their elected representative to HCG with suggestions on current or proposed programs.
Councilors appoint an Executive Director, who serves as the CEO for the organization. A dedicated team of professional staff brings a wealth of professional training and experience to the day-to-day operation of HCG programs and services.
How is it paid for?
HCG receives no state aid. HCG receives no tax revenue. HCG cannot bond. The $5 million annual budget is supported solely by assessed membership dues, program fees, grants, and earned revenues.
How is HCG organized?
Elected Councilors govern HCG. At their municipal election, each of the member towns elects one or more representatives. Councilors serve three-year terms. Votes on HCG are weighted, according to the town population. Councilors elect from among themselves a Moderator and a five member Executive Committee consisting of a Chair, Vice-Chair, and three other members. The Chair appoints committees and committee chairs.
How can towns join or leave HCG?
A vote of either the Town Meeting or City Council or by ballot at town elections is required. In addition, a vote of current members must approve new members. The specific procedures required are set forth in the Charter and in the Administrative Code.