July 1, 2022

Sept. 28 Town Meeting Expected on New Deep River Community Health Committee

DEEP RIVER—  A Sept. 28 town meeting is expected to vote on a resolution establishing a new community health committee that would oversee a charitable fund that had been managed by the  now disbanded Deep River Public Health Nursing Agency.

The board of selectmen, in approving the resolution at a meeting Tuesday, also appointed the intial three members of what will become a five member committee. The members appointed so far include former Selectman Russell Marth, Dr. Kristin Zarfos, a surgical oncologist at St. Francis Hospital, and Carl Olson, a retired nurse.

The three initial members will also serve as the town’s representatives to the Visiting Nurses of the Lower Valley board of directors, the Centerbrook-based regional nursing agency that assumed various public health functions in Deep River after the Deep River Visiting Nurses was disbanded on July 1. Voters at a May 18 referendum had discontinued funding the Deep River Puiblic Health Nurses, which had coordinated viisiting nurse services in town for decades.

Along with serving as liaison to the regional nursing agency, the community health committee would also manage the Memorial Fund, a charitable fund that had been run by the Deep River Public Health Nursing Agency. The fund, which contains about $70,000 donated by residents over the years, had been used to provide special assistance, including food, fuel, and medicines, to needy Deep River residents.

The community health committee would be charged with managing the Memorial Fund as “a special segregated town fund for charitable purposes”, and developing eligibility criteria for disbursements from the fund.
Members of the community health committee would be appointed to the board of selectmen, subject to confirmation from a town meeting,  for two-year terms.

First Selectman Richard Smith said two additional members of the community health committee would be appointed after the Sept. 28 town meeting formally adopts the ordinance establishing the committee. Visiting Nurses of the Lower Valley Inc. has been coordinating visiting nurse services in Deep River since July 1.