New Look Coming to Town Government Online

            The Rochester Board of Selectmen encountered technical difficulties with the audio transmission of its July 8 hybrid meeting in which the board members and administration were present in town hall and any other attendees connecting via Zoom.

            Town Administrator Suzanne Szyndlar said work in ongoing to correct the audio problems for the next meeting, and on Monday spoke with The Wanderer in an effort to summarize the July 8 meeting.

            In her Town Administrator’s Report, Szyndlar said that Rochester will be getting a new website by July 21. The redesign is being performed by CivicPlus, which services the websites of 51 towns including Marion and Mattapoisett.

            Szyndlar said the new website will give the town more flexibility and more options. Individual departments of town government will be able to manage their own content. Residents can e-subscribe to alerts and announcements, and the new website will become the official posting site for public notices, pending the state district attorney office’s approval.

            Plymouth County CARES Funding is rolling into Phase 2, and any balances not used in Phase 1 roll into Phase 2, which is the needs-based phase of COVID-related, non-budgeted expense reimbursement.

            Based on Phase 2 allotment, as of June 24, there have been 34 total COVID cases in Rochester, resulting in a $185,000 allotment for such reimbursements of costs related to pandemic that are not budgeted by the town.

            Of the $23,000,000 by the state government to Plymouth County, Rochester was allotted $246,000 for the first phase based on its population. Being the most populous of the 27 Plymouth County communities, Brockton had 4,197 COVID cases and was allotted approximately 50 percent of the funds.

            Phase 3 will start September 30 and is dedicated to veterans’ services, libraries, and the councils on aging; Rochester will receive $48,000 for Phase 3 and altogether $480,000.

            Szyndlar also commended 14-year-old Rochester resident Owen Modracek for his design and submission of a town flag. Rochester has a flag at the State House, but does not fly it at town hall. The board agreed to refer to the town’s Historical Commission to find out the history on Rochester’s flag.

            The Board of Selectmen has reorganized in synch with the election, and because of that, Vice Chairman Brad Morse voted to have Paul Ciaburri continue as chairman for the next year.

            Szyndlar explained that the town fell out of synch with the logical progression that institutes any new selectman first as clerk, then as vice chairman and in the third year as chairman. Rochester wound up with the first year being vice-chairman, the second year as chairman, and the third as clerk. Keeping Ciaburri as chairman for one more year allows the progression to flow properly going forward.

            The Rochester County Fair committee requested the use of the town’s Pine Street property for its September 13 event including a truck and tractor pull. The board approved pending the event meets all other requirements including Board of Health approval.

            The Old Rochester Regional School District agreement was reviewed for the first time in many years and is in need of updates by the board. Any changes ultimately require town meeting approval. Szyndlar noted that the ORR School Committee passed it along to the town for any suggestions with the goal of bringing any amendments forward to the fall town meeting. The document also has to be reviewed by the state department of elementary and secondary education.

            In other business, the Board of Selectmen reappointed assistant, part-time treasurer Diana Knapp.

            The Board of Selectmen has agreed to resume meeting at 6:00 pm on the first and third Monday of every month. On a holiday week, the selectmen will meet on Tuesday. The next meeting of the Rochester Board of Selectmen is scheduled for 6:00 pm on Monday, July 20.

Rochester Board of Selectmen

By Mick Colageo

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