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High cost of enforcement

State cuts leave town health boards wanting

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June 29, 2009
What does it cost to keep a community healthy? Is $8,000 enough to keep a whole community free of health risks? Is $13,000?

With nearly $70 million cut from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health budget, municipal health departments across the commonwealth are having to ask themselves just that.

"Boards of health, and health departments in general, are always overlooked until something happens," said Linda Cocalis, chairman of the Sturbridge Board of Health. "Then when something happens, they want to know why the board of health didn't do anything."

With more than 60 commercial food establishments in town that require twice-annual inspections, as well as hundreds of overnight rooms — Sturbridge having the fourth highest volume of overnight accommodations in Massachusetts — the Sturbridge Health Department is spread wearily thin.

See Monday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage.

Stonebridge Press
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