Natick has finally published its 2019 Annual Town Report, and the nearly 300-page government document is brimming with information that newcomers and longtimers should find interesting. Of course 2019 was a whole different world than 2020, so you need to take in a lot of the information with that in mind.
The report, dedicated to ubiquitous town volunteer and elected official Dr. Carol Gloff, is a resource where you can find answers to questions that might not be readily available elsewhere on the town’s website or via search engines like Google. Note that the digital version of it can be a little dizzying, where it goes from vertical to sideways at certain points.
Here are 9 things that caught my eye, in no particular order of significance. I’m sure there are things that should have jumped out from the sections where my eyes were glazing over…
- There’s the ever-popular “Employees Annual Earnings” section, the last part of the report. No. 1 on the list at $284K is former METCO Director Alexandria Pearson, who departed in 2014 but whose name showed up in School Committee minutes throughout 2018 and 2019 regarding litigation with the town. Also topping $200K: Police Chief James Hicks, Police Lt. Brian Lauzon, and School Superintendent Anna Nolin. Gross income for NPD is often inflated beyond base salary by retroactive pay, overtime, and details.
- The Town Clerk’s office registered 134 marriages in 2019, down 18% from the year before.
- The Kibbey Prize, made from an old soda bottle and created in 2016 by the Natick Affordable Housing Trust to recognize “exemplary contribution to the expansion of housing opportunities for the citizens of Natick,” still had not been awarded through 2019.
- The communicable and reportable diseases list will certainly have a different look in 2020 than in 2019, where influenza type A (98 cases) led the way. Next up: Lyme disease, with 54 cases. Three cases of Dengue Fever were reported.
- The Recreation and Parks Department counted 451 people volunteering a total of 20,728 hours, which translates into more than $666K in salaries. But the department also says: “We continually feel the effect of the volunteerism trend being on the decline…”
- The Natick Fire Department trained Natick High School students in CPR, Cardiac Defibrillation and Basic First Aid. By training the freshmen and junior classes each year, NFD keeps nearly the entire school body CPR certified. Many teachers, coaches, and other town employees also take CPR training.
- The Natick Police Department started a Jail Diversion Program to improve its response to situations involving individuals with mental health issues. Through a grant, the department has enlisted a clinician who partners with officers on calls where mental health issues apply. This helped to divert dozens from the criminal justice system or emergency rooms, saving the town $176K as well.
- Animal control reported 28 lost dogs, 29 lost cats, and 0 lost ferrets.
- The Department of Public Works completed street sweeping by May. In 2020, they were still sweeping in the fall due to staffing levels and priority issues affected by the pandemic.