WAYNE — The township will assume most health services for Totowa under a 10-year agreement that begins this week.
The deal means the 11,065 residents of the neighboring borough can avail themselves of local aerobics classes, blood-pressure screenings, COVID-19 vaccine appointments, flu clinics and other programs offered by the Health Department.
It also means Wayne’s health officer, MaryAnn Orapello, will be in charge of public health personnel in Totowa.
“It started with a conversation,” said Wayne Mayor Christopher Vergano, who hailed the arrangement as a win for both sides.
Totowa will pay $30,000 to the township in the first year of their deal; by the 10th year, the agreement states, the cost will increase to $35,852.
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Vergano said the township will not have to hire more staff to accommodate the increase in demand.
The Health Department has 14 full-time employees.
Totowa Mayor John Coiro said the borough was shopping for a new provider of health services because its contract with the city of Paterson is set to expire. Under that deal, officials paid $11,991 this past year.
“They’re paying more,” Vergano said, “but they’re going to get more.”
Another consideration for Totowa was that Darlene Walsh, who has been its full-time public health nurse for almost 32 years, is retiring on Thursday.
After the deal with Wayne is in place, Coiro said, the borough will hire a part-time nurse.
The only other employee in the Totowa Health Department is a full-time registrar of vital statistics, who will remain on the borough’s payroll.
Coiro said the borough will continue to perform its own inspections of restaurants and swimming pools.
The deal with Totowa is the second of its type for the township, which has been under contract since May 2011 to provide health services for the borough of Pompton Lakes.
Vergano said the Health Department would likely be unable to take on related services for another municipality without additional staff.
Philip DeVencentis is a local reporter for NorthJersey.com. For unlimited access to the most important news from your local community, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.