By Mark Schwager
The views expressed below are my own and are not an official communication from the Town Council or Town of East Greenwich.
Over the past week the Town Manager and Town Council have worked to ensure that our municipal government continues to deliver important community services. The Town Council declared a municipal state of emergency to help protect the health, welfare and safety of our community from the COVID 19 threat. This declaration removes barriers to action by our Town Manager, Andrew Nota, to take swift actions in response to the virus outbreak. The Town Manager is keeping the community updated via the town website eastgreenwichri.com, our FaceBook page @TownofEastGreenwichRI, and @AndrewNota on Twitter.
Why is it so important that the Town’s government continue to operate effectively? Even under the current limitations on schools, business and our families, the majority of our town staff are essential employees working on your behalf. The town must continue to provide police and fire services. We must manage wastewater treatment, sanitation, and maintenance and repair of our roads and facilities. Staff continues to address the town’s cash flow, bookkeeping and financial reporting. Information technology is vital to provide access and communication for our first responders, administrators and the public. The town needs to conduct meetings and provide continuing access to records, permits and licenses. We are overseeing the nutrition and support services for our most vulnerable residents.
Perhaps most importantly, town government is a vital line of defense in an emergency. We are the local agency which will coordinate and process many of the resources coming to East Greenwich from federal and state relief programs. The town will continue to send alerts on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our community. To receive updates via text or email visit the town website, eastgreenwichri.com. Click on the “Notify Me” button, then sign up for News Flash – News and Announcements (detailed instructions at https://bit.ly/2JbLkeb).
The Council will conduct meetings remotely with access and participation by the public using the Zoom online platform. Zoom will allow residents to view and listen to meetings in real time. Once the Zoom set up is completed, the Town will announce an online “Town Meeting” to address your questions and comments. We will provide instructions on how you can attend virtually.
This is a difficult time for the families and businesses of East Greenwich, but we are fortunate that our town has a tremendous sense of resilience and community. Sign up for our volunteer list at (401) 886-8626 or RClough@eastgreenwichri.com. Participate in our virtual town meeting. Our sense of connection is our greatest strength. Let’s keep it going.
Mark Schwager, M.D., is president of the East Greenwich Town Council.