As I assume my new role as chairman of the Pepperell Board of Health, I feel the need to communicate with Pepperell citizens about important issues.
First, I want to express my appreciation to the former Board of Health chairman, Virginia Malouin, whose considerable experience along with her willingness and availability to devote hours of her own time to run the Board in extremely difficult times, will be sorely missed.
Second, I want to welcome Mark Walsh to the board. I am excited to have his expertise, both as a lawyer and as an experienced member of other town boards, to guide us through the difficult times ahead. I also hope that he will bear witness to the fact that the BOH supports the position of public health nurse. We are convinced that our nurse is excellently providing vital services to Pepperell citizens and board members will take all steps that are fiscally and humanly necessary to protect the position.
We have a lot to do! First and foremost we must hire a health agent! We want to assure residents that housing complaints and other issues will be handled in a timemly fashion.
Budget issues: The 2007-2008, BOH budget is $193,923. The really bad news is that the 2008-2009 budget has been dramatically cut. The board has worked extremely hard to prevent a serious reduction of services, especially for services provided by Nashoba Nursing Services (NNS) and Lipton Mental Health Services.
To date we have paid Nashoba Nursing Services $1,997.67 of the budgeted $2,743. This fiscal year, NNS provided direct care services for six Pepperell citizens and participated in clinics that are already being provided to Pepperell citizens by our own public health nurse. The budget for the 2008-2009 fiscal year is set at $1,500. This will allow back-up coverage for the Pepperell public health nurse and will not result in a reduction of services!
$7,425 of the budgeted $9,900 has been spent for mental health services. Representatives from the Lipton Mental Health Services assure us that Pepperell citizens presently receiving services will continue to receive their mental health services. The 2008-2009 budget for mental health services has been decreased to $5,000. BOH members are not happy to have to make this cut in the budget but understand that we must work with other town departments in these financially trying times. Not to do so would be totally irresponsible.
I hope this letter helps to explain some of the actions taken by the Pepperell Board of Health. I hope to serve you well.