Selectman Vice Chair questions change in emergency medicine site

Jul 17, 2018

Board of Selectmen Vice Chair Paul Ciaburri was disappointed that the state didn’t notify town officials before moving the town’s hub for medical supplies and medicine during a pandemic from Old Colony Regional Vocational Technical High School to Old Rochester Regional High School.

Ciaburri learned about the change, which pushes Rochester to share an emergency dispensing site with Marion and Mattapoisett, at the last Plymouth County Public Health Emergency Preparedness Coalition meeting on June 20.

At the Tuesday, July 17, Rochester Board of Selectmen meeting, Ciaburri expressed concerns that the site’s Mattapoisett Route 6 location would be destined to have chaotic traffic flow and that the location would bar North Rochester residents from receiving medical care quickly enough.

“They’re trying to regionalize it and that might work well if we didn’t have three fairly mid-sized towns all trying to get into one spot,” Ciaburri said.

The Old Colony location seemed easier to manage due to its proximity to residents and might be easier to control, the vice chair said.

While he doesn’t believe the decision can be reversed, Ciaburri still seeks further discussion with town officials to address the matter.

In other news:

• Rochester’s Facilities Manager Andrew Daniel reviewed changes made over the last two months from American Disability Act awards. Combined, it covered $75,000 for handicap accessible upgrades in Town Hall and at the town’s Council on Aging. Daniel made clear that the grant expenses were under budget.

• Additionally, Daniel notified Selectmen that Rochester could apply for $100,000 in the Small Town Capital Grant Housing Choice Initiative. The grant is for communities of 70,000 or under, limits one project per town, and unlike the name, doesn’t have to support housing.

Rochester would have to apply for the grant by August. Daniel has talked to various town department heads for ideas.

“It doesn’t seem like a difficult grant,” he said. “It’s just time.”

• Town Administrator Suzanne Szyndlar suggested setting a special town meeting for Nov. 19.

In response, Board of Selectmen Chair Woody Hartley said it would best to hold off on making arrangements without Selectmen Brad Morse present. Selectmen will discuss cementing a final Town Meeting date at the next Board meeting.