By BERA DUNAU
NORTHAMPTON — The Hampshire Council of Governments has reduced its annual membership dues to $1 in hopes of attracting more municipalities to join.
“Reducing the HCG membership dues to $1 removes the financial barrier to participation,” said HCG Executive Director Todd Ford, in a statement about the decision.
“HCG encourages full participation in the oversight and strategic planning of the organization and reducing dues to $1 per community eliminates any financial barrier for that vision,” the statement concludes.
Only one council member voted against the measure.
While HCG has traditionally served the county through its bulk purchasing, its electricity business has received increasing prominence in recent years.
After the meeting, Ford said that, with current membership, the move means HCG will lose out on $24,000 in revenue. However, he said, the loss is worth it because it will allow the organization to better market its programs and encourage community participation.
“It’s certainly our hope and intent,” said Ford, when asked if he hoped this move would get more communities to join.
Ford also said that while not every community in Hampshire County is a member of HCG, every community participates in at least one HCG program.
“We are inviting the communities of Hampshire County to participate in the leadership of HCG,” he said.
HCG currently has 15 member communities, although Belchertown and Hadley have voted to begin the process of leaving the organization.