Highlights of the Board of Health meeting on November 12 included discussions of tick mitigation on two athletic fields, and vaping prevention.
Tick Mitigation Project
Department of Public Works Director David Manugian briefed the Board of Health on the installation of tick barriers alongside the Springs Brook and South Road athletic fields to help reduce tick exposure.
The installations would be comprised of a gravel path, with a fence along its middle. The stone, although expensive, would allow for the field to be mowed easily and further prevent ticks from crossing into the field due to the unlikelihood of ticks crossing the rocks.
The fences alongside the Springs Brook fields have been approved but are awaiting negotiations with contractors before moving forward. The fence is expected to be installed during the spring of 2020.
The project on the South Road fields would ultimately need to be approved by the Conservation Commission as the location is within wetland resource areas. This project is also estimated to commence in the spring of 2020.
Vaping Prevention Grant Coordinator Carla Olson gave an update on the joint efforts among the Boards of Health in Bedford, Carlisle, and Concord. Olson presented a vaping kit and discussed the dangers that the epidemic has for teenagers; she cited the attractive flavors, like blue watermelon, used to market to adolescents. The discreteness of some vaping devices, like a Juul which looks like a USB drive, adds to the risk, according to Olson.
Board of Health director Heidi Porter stressed the growing relationship between the Board of Health and Bedford Public Schools to help crack down on vaping. Currently, if caught vaping on school grounds, students can either chose a punishment of a three-day-suspension or a three-day course on the dangers of vaping with a one-day-suspension. Since the implementation of the current policy, four students have been caught vaping. All four students have chosen the three-day-suspension. Olson stressed the importance of instructing students about the dangers that the addiction could pose for a young person
Amendment to the Regulations Restricting the Sale of Tobacco Products
In order to properly enforce Governor Baker’s four-month Temporary Ban on the Sale of Vaping Products, the Board of Health unanimously passed an amendment to the Regulation Restricting the Sale of Tobacco Products.
FY20 Budget Discussion
Even with the combination of Youth and Family Services with the Board of Health to create Health and Human Services, the Board of Health’s budget for fiscal year 2020 is net-zero. All Departments will need to present their proposed budgets to the Finance Committee for FY20 in a new format to easily show actual, projected, and targeted budgets for past, current, and future budgets.