Since the start of the pandemic, the Select Board has advised residents to complete what appointments they could online or by mail, and the Town Clerk and Tax Collector’s offices have only been open by appointment. As of April 6, the Town Hall has opened its doors again, but only on a limited basis, according to Town Administrator Tara Sousa. For the first time since the spring of 2020, the Greenville Town Hall is open for drop-in appointments.
“There is limited space in the lobby,” Sousa said, “so currently we’re only allowing one person at each of the two windows at the Town Clerk and Tax Collector, and two people waiting in the lobby. The rest will be asked to wait outside. The main issue is limited space.” “Things have been moving in a good direction and the Select Board felt confident this could be done safely. And thus far, residents have been very accommodating to accepting restrictions like social distancing and requests to wear a mask,” Sousa said. “It was time.”
Sousa said the decision was made to open the Town Hall now because staff at the Town Hall are vaccinated or in the process, and because of consistent low rates of infection in town. At the same time, the Select Board, which has been meeting telephonically since last spring, is expected to begin to meet in person again. And those meetings will be taking place in the Town Hall meeting room, located in the lower level of the building. The meeting room has not been in use since it was damaged in August of 2019 by flooding after a roof drain failed during an extreme rainstorm. The floor had to be replaced, and two feet of drywall and wooden paneling around the room had to be replaced, and the bathroom redone.
“That’s obviously still the safest and most socially distanced way to do things,” Sousa said. “But we are happy to welcome people back in person as well.” Sousa said residents are still encouraged to use online and mail-in options whenever possible.
Town Boards that were meeting in person during the repairs met in the Mascenic SAU offices, within the former Greenville Elementary School, over the past year and a half, while the town struggled with repairing the room. Some initial repairs were done, but not to the Select Board’s satisfaction, and had to be addressed, and there were issues finding a contractor during the COVID-19 epidemic, Sousa said. The cost of the repairs was covered by the town’s insurance.
Repairs are still outstanding in the town’s Emergency Management office, but the main meeting room repairs have been completed, Sousa said, and when the Select Board meets next on April 14, for their first in-person meeting, it will be back in their usual space in the Town Hall. “It’s just slowed the whole process down,” Sousa said.
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