July 9, 2020

Essex Selectmen Set Workshop Before Public Hearing on Regional Health District

ESSEX—  The board of selectmen has scheduled a final information workshop before it sets the date for a public hearing on the option of joining the Connecticut River Valley Regional Health District.

The board decided Wednesday to schedule a workshop session with Mary Jane Engle, the director of the three-town health district, for Wednesday Nov. 17 at 5 p.m. in town hall. First Selectman Phil Miller said the board would set the date for a public hearing on the health district at its regular meeting later that evening.

The hearing would probably be held in early December. The board would then decide whether to bring the option of joining the district to a deciding vote at a town meeting.

Miller said the workshop would allow selectmen to “prepare for the public hearing,” receiving information from Engle on the operations and services of the health district, and any possible cost savings for the town from the current total annual expenditure for health related services. Miller had appointed Engle as acting health director for Essex on a month-to-month basis in mid October after Dr. William McCann resigned from the part-time health director position he had held since 2008.

The Connecticut River Valley Regional Health District was formed in July 2006 by the towns of Clinton, Deep River, and Old Saybrook. The district’s office is located in Old Saybrook.Essex selectmen held an initial informational hearing on the regional health district in June 2006, but deferred any move to join the district after the idea drew a generally negative response at the hearing. A second public hearing held last February also drew a mixed response, but some additional expressions of support for the joining the district.