Future of Chesprocott Health District in limbo

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PROSPECT — With town officials from Prospect, Cheshire, and Wolcott discussing the possibility of leaving the Chesprocott Health District, the health district’s future is in jeopardy.

“Without those towns, there wouldn’t be any Chesprocott,” said Thomas Wegrzyn, director of health at Chesprocott.

He went on to explain that the health district is a shared service between the three towns and, if they all left the district, it would cease to exist.

The discussion about what to do about the health district stems from a letter Wegrzyn sent out in May asking all three towns for more money to help the health district with a financial shortfall.

“Chesprocott Health District has fallen into a fiscally dire condition at this point in time and is in need of cash to continue our basic operations,” Wegrzyn wrote in the letter.

The correspondence continued on, informing the towns that they needed to pay $1 per resident to help the health district through this financially difficult time.

For Prospect, that bill came to $9,494.

The letter was not received well by the three towns, which have begun to discuss the possibility of leaving the district. During its July 17 meeting, Prospect’s Town Council voted to give Mayor Robert Chatfield the ability to look into moving to another health district.

“If they decided to [leave] then that would cause the dissolution of the district,” Wegrzyn said.

Prospect’s Town Council felt since the town has to remain with Chesprocott for another year, it wanted to see some changes happen. The first change would be a shake up of the management.

“I thought it was our hope that the management would change in Chesprocott,” Councilor Patricia Geary said during the council’s July 17 meeting.

Wegrzyn explained even before the health district sent the letter out to the towns, it began to change and adapt to the loss of income. There have been positions that were cut and cutback.

He said now that the changes have been made, Chesprocott is focused on the future of serving the three towns.

“We ran into some issues with fiscal matters. We are doing as we have for the past 35 years, providing professional and quality services,” Wegrzyn said.

While the health district is preparing for the future, it has not taken into consideration the possibility of the effect of the other towns if only one of the three were to leave the health district.

“If that were to occur, it is something that would need to be studied,” Wegrzyn said.

He said what would happen if only one town leaves depends on many different factors, such as the population of town, the amount of funding the district would receive from the remaining towns, and the amount of staff needed.

Wegrzyn said while the towns are looking into other options, none of them has come to him directly yet.

“What we did was ask for additional funding. The towns are doing reconnaissance to review their options. There’s been no discussion directly with me,” Wegrzyn said.