By Bob McGarry.
My March 23rd COVID-19 update discussed Executive Order (EO) 7I and its impact on our budget process. EO 7I required the Board of Selectmen to grant the Board of Finance the authority to set the budget without a town meeting. I wrote that I would do my best to ensure our normal process was followed albeit, perhaps, in a modified way. We’ve been exploring ways to safely hold the budget vote and checking what other towns have done. As recently as Friday afternoon, I was saying I thought we would vote in some fashion. Unfortunately, Friday night that changed. The Governor issued EO 7HH which requires our BOF to approve the budget and prohibits town meetings and referendums. There can be no public vote. We will have an online public hearing on the budget and accept comments by mail and email. Details will follow closer to the meeting date.
Since my last COVID-19 update on April 20th, we’ve added 5 more cases in town. Our total is now 21. Fortunately, we have yet to have a fatality. The Governor announced reopening might start as early as May 20th. One of the conditions he set for it was 14 days of decline in hospitalizations. Saturday, May 2nd was our 10th straight day. In other encouraging news the FDA authorized the use of remdesivir for treating COVID-19 and there are seven vaccines currently in clinical trials.
In spite of the pandemic, town operations are continuing. In April our Social Services Department helped 127 families through the Food Bank, 6 families with Fuel Assistance, 2 families with the Clothing Bank. In response to a concerned friend, Jessica and Trooper Deangelo checked on the welfare of an elderly resident. Fortunately, she was fine. I want to highlight this important service. If you have a concern about the welfare of someone in town, please contact Social Services or my office and we’ll check on them. Public Works has been busy with road work and cleaning up after the recent windstorm. The Town Office Building continues to be open by appointment. We’ve had a steady stream of customers. While it’s still a ways off, July is typically a very busy month for the town clerk with dog license renewals and transfer station stickers. We’ll have a way for you to get your transfer sticker by mail like you can renew dog licenses. I encourage everyone to take advantage of these.