At their March 16 meeting, China selectmen unanimously approved Town Manager Dennis Heath’s recommendations for balancing staff and residents’ safety with necessary town services in the coronavirus age.
The goal of the proposals Heath, Emergency Preparedness Committee members and others developed is “to not create mass hysteria, but show people that we’re being thoughtful and responsible,” the manager said.
To that end:
- The annual town business meeting that was scheduled for April 4 has been rescheduled, for now at least, to 9 a.m. Saturday, May 2, with the two pre-meeting informational sessions planned for March moved to April 26 and 29.
- Meetings of all town committees are suspended until further notice, with two exceptions: the Selectboard will continue to meet alternate Mondays for essential town business only, and the Thursday, March 19, China for a Lifetime Committee meeting will be held to continue to advise on appropriate emergency measures.
- The transfer station will remain open the usual hours, except the Free-for-the-Taking building, which will be closed. Transfer station users should keep a safe distance from staff members and from other users.
- Town office staff will continue to work normal hours, but with limited person-to-person contact. Those needing town office services are encouraged to do their business on-line or to call the town office for over-the-phone discussions. Beginning soon, probably March 23, the office doors will be locked and only people who have made an appointment and whose business must be done face-to-face will be admitted. Tax payments due March 27 can be left in the box outside the office door or mailed.
- A new coronavirus page on the town website will continue to provide updated information.
Selectmen and Heath do not know how long emergency measures will be in place. They will monitor news and advice about the pandemic and act accordingly.
Former Selectman Robert MacFarland asked whether the town had plans to provide supplies to housebound residents if necessary. Heath said that was one of the issues the China for a Lifetime Committee was working on, and one reason its meeting was not cancelled.
There will be limits to what the town can do, he said. That day he had asked staff to try to get a supply of disinfectant wipes: none are available, none can be ordered.
Selectmen authorized Heath to use money from their contingency fund to assist residents during the coronavirus emergency.
In other business March 16, selectmen appointed Trishea Story secretary of the Tax Increment Financing Committee.
As of March 16, the next China selectmen’s meeting is scheduled for Monday evening, March 30.
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