WESTBOROUGH, Mass -- Saying a regionalized approach will actually boost services for veterans while also saving the town money, Westborough Selectmen on Tuesday voted to join a newly created four-town veterans' services district.
Town Manager James Malloy said the neighboring communities of Grafton, Shrewsbury and Northborough, which had already been informally sharing veterans services delivery, approached Westborough about five months ago about creating a formal district.
"This will actually provide additional services to veterans in all four towns," Malloy said. "And it will cost slightly less."
The district will employ a director and two part-time agents and at least one agent will be available every day in one of the town halls. The four towns will provide administrative support from existing staff for the time being, and staffing needs will be reviewed regularly.
State law requires that all states with more than 12,000 residents have a full-time veterans services agent. Westborough currently has two part-time agents and joining a regional services agency will bring the town into compliance with the state law.
Based on population, Westborough will pay about $19,125 per year to support the budget of the district, the same as Northborough and half as much as Shrewsbury. Grafton will pay about $14,500 annually.
Selectman Denny Drewry said his earlier concerns about the district had been addressed, and that the fact that longtime Westborough Director of Veterans Services George Perry supports the move and will be closely involved with its formation gives him added confidence it will succeed.
"It seems like services will be enhanced, which is obviously a great thing," said Selectman Timothy A.Dodd.