Voters to weigh in on Board of Health staffing at Southborough Town Meeting

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By Susan Gonsalves, Contributing Writer

The Southborough Board of Health offices sit within the Cordaville Hall in town. (Photo by/Dakota Antelman)

SOUTHBOROUGH – An article on next month’s Southborough Town Meeting warrant seeks funds to boost two Board of Health positions to full-time status.

Board of Selectmen Vice Chair Chelsea Malinowski explained to her colleagues at a meeting on Oct. 7 that the town previously budgeted for a public health nurse position working at 15 hours per week. The public health director was budgeted to work 17 hours per week. Those jobs will be paid for by CARES Act funds through December.

CARES funds end at the end of the calendar year, though. So, this Town Meeting request aims to increase the hours of work for those positions while funding them through the end of the contracts in June of next year. A “yes” vote would amount to a change in the salary account of $69,223. The director would work 30 hours while the nurse would work 40 hours, Malinowski said.

This change would also prompt approximately $30,000 in health and dental benefit costs.

Board of Health member Safdar Medina noted that COVID-19 cases are on the rise and that there is still a need for contact tracing, public education and other services. 

“These positions are vital to the town’s health,” Medina said.

Speaking on Oct. 7, Malinowski also discussed Southborough’s shared service grant and participation in The Greater Boroughs Partnership for Health (GBPH), which provides shared public health services in Northborough, Boylston and Westborough.

Information about an upcoming forum can be found on the Board of Health’s website.

Other articles on the Town Meeting Warrant include requests to change the name Selectmen to Select Board, to allow Town Meetings to be held in contiguous towns in cases of emergency or lack of space and to reduce the Advisory Committee membership from nine to seven while adding a vice chairman position.

Debate is expected on an article regarding Southborough’s Downtown District Bylaw. 

Voters will also decide whether to fund a traffic study that could advance efforts to enact additional truck exclusions in town in response to resident complaints.

Town Clerk James Hegarty said that a “yes” vote town meeting location article could let Southborough hold a session at a location such as Algonquin Regional High School to allow for spacing and more participation.

Town Meeting will take place on Monday, Nov. 1 at 7 p.m. at the P. Brent Trottier Middle School, 49 Parkerville Rd.

The meeting will observe COVID-19 protocols including mask wearing and six-foot separation in seating. With this arrangement, the gym has 141 seats and an overflow can use the auditorium with 100 seats, Hegarty said.

A rapid COVID testing option will be offered, most likely in a parking lot, he added.