TOWN OF STERLING CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) UPDATE

For more COVID 19 information, access the HEALTH INFORMATION tab on the homepage
On March 18, 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Board of Health, with the support of the Select Board and Town Administrator directed the closure of all municipal buildings to the public until further notice. 
 
On March 20, 2020, all Town Hall employees were directed to work at home if possible, effective Monday March 23, 2020 until further notice.  This week, essential functions continue with employees alternating between working in Town Hall and working from home.  Some are staggering their days to avoid having two+ people in the same office.
 
Accordingly, all town activities/programs are cancelled. Non-essential government meetings are canceled or postponed. For the meetings that continue, remote participation is offered to all board and committee members as well as the public. Check the Town’s web page for updates.
 
While we certainly understand this situation is not ideal, we are proceeding with the well-being of our citizens and staff in mind, while also continuing to provide basic services to residents and business owners.
 
 We encourage everyone to closely follow information from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH), Sterling Board of Health, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and exercise good judgement and caution.
 
We are asking that the public use our on-line resources for on-line payment and contact us via email and telephone with any questions that you may have for us. Residents are encouraged to use the on-line permitting application and the drop box in the front of the Town Hall building for bill payment or any other documents that would normally be delivered personally.
 
Please see the telephone contact numbers below for frequently visited departments and leave a message if your call is not immediately answered:
Assessors 978-422-8111 x 2313
Building Department 978-422-8111 x 2303, 2301
Conservation 978-314-7858
Department of Public Works (including Highway, Cemetery and Water) 978-422-6767
Fire Department (business line) 978-422-8107
Health Department 978-422-8111  x 2306, 2305
Library 978-422-6409
Police Department (business line) 978-422-7331
Recreation Department 978-422-3041
Senior Center / COA 978-422-3032
Town Administrator 978-422-8111 x 2316
Town Clerk 978-422-8111 x 2308
Town Planner 978-422-8111 x 2332
Treasurer/Tax Collector 978-422-8111 x 2312
Veterans Services 978-534-7538
 
Assessor’s Office
  • The Assessors’ Office will continue to process auto excise abatements. Applications are online see Assessors Dept. web page.
  • Documentation may be sent via USPS, emailed to ddreyer@sterling-ma.gov, or placed in the drop box.
  • Call the office or email with any questions regarding personal exemptions.
  • Real & Personal Property abatement requests will continue to be processed within the required 3 month timeframe.
  • Vision Property Cards can be found on the Town website under “GIS Online”
Board of Health
 
Building Department
  • Contact Patty Page, at 978-422-8111 x. 2301 if you have any building department related questions.  We do have e-Permitting.  Please see our link on the Building Department page at www.sterling-ma.gov
  • Any hard copy documents that need to reach the building department can be placed in the grey drop-box out front (directed to the building department).
  • Please email with any questions at any time.  ppage@sterling-ma.gov
  • If you need to reach the building commissioner, Sarah Culgin, please call 978-422-8111 x2303 or her town cell phone 978-844-1468.  Also feel free to email her at sculgin@sterling-ma.gov
  • Time-sensitive inspections (building, electric, gas & plumbing) will be completed, but please call to schedule an appointment as follows:
  • Building permit inspections call Building Commissioner, Sarah Culgin at 978-844-1468
  • For plumbing and gas inspections, please call Bob Janda at 978-422-6542 between 7 and 7:30 a.m. Monday through Friday.
  • For wiring inspections, please call Patty at 978-422-8111x2301 or Gary Harrington at 508-922-5651.
 
Conservation Commission
  • Site inspections for ongoing town projects will continue with the agent performing the inspections alone. If project owners are needed to be on site it shall be outside only with the standard of social distance established.
  • The Commission office and agent is available by phone at 978-422-8111 ext 2321. Messages left are sent to the Agent’s email and will be received.  Agent’s cell may also be used at 978-314-7858.
  • You may email the Agent for communications as well. Standard practice of returning messages within 24 hours after receipt Sunday through Thursday will continue. The email for the Agent is mmarro@sterling-ma.gov
  •  Meetings are tentatively scheduled to resume April 7, 2020. All Applicant’s will be notified in the event of further modifications as the needs arise. Remote participation is a possibility.
  • Records requests must be made by email and a response at no charge will be made by email of a pdf.
 
DPW / Highway/Water/Cemeteries
  • Incoming calls for tree issues, potholes, etc. can be placed to the DPW office at 978-422-6767.
  • The Water Dept. will perform reads for those remote or drive by meters. If there is a situation that presents itself as an emergency only then will the water department enter into the home or building.
  • The payment drop box at the DPW is available Monday - Friday 7am to 3:30pm in the foyer of the DPW building. There is also a drive up payment drop box available in front of the Butterick Building - Town Hall 1 Park Street.
  • Cemetery burials and Sale of Lots will occur as needed while considering weather conditions.
  • Any questions pertaining to DPW matters/situations should be made to the DPW at 978-422-6767 for further information and answers.
  • Trash and recycling questions should be directed to 978-422-6767.
 
Fire Inspections
  • Burn Permits will no longer be issued at the fire station. To get a Burn Permit, please go to our website at http://sterlingfd.net
  • Permit Applications and other correspondence will not be received in person at the Fire Station. Please send them to us by U.S. Mail to Sterling Fire Department P.O. Box 21, Sterling, MA 01564. We are currently putting together a system to submit permits electronically and will send out information once that is available.
  • Realtors and other people selling residential property should anticipate delays in 26F/26F ½ (smoke and CO detector) inspections associated with real estate transactions.  Please refer to our website for updated status on the issuance of permits. 
  • The SFD Business office will be staffed and reachable by phone at 978-422-8107. Please feel free to call us to get help with any issues with permits, inspections, EMS billing or other non-emergency business. You can also contact us via email using the links provided on our website.
  • All meetings and trainings scheduled at the fire station have been postponed.
  • Please help our responders protect themselves by giving important details when you call 911 like; if you are experiencing flu-like symptoms, fever, cough, chest congestion or difficulty breathing.  This allows those responding to don proper personal protective equipment which provides a barrier for any type of infection you might have. 
  • As always, if you have an emergency please call 911 and we will respond immediately.
Government Meetings
Only essential meetings are to take place. Remote participation is strongly recommended, in keeping with Governor Baker’s March 15, 2020 order limiting gatherings to 25 and now limited to 10 or less persons per Federal guidelines.  Conference call information will be added to the posted meeting agendas so that the public may participate in these meetings, as much as possible. Agendas will continue to be posted on the Town’s website.
 
Planning & Development
 
Police Department
  • Until further notice, we are asking citizens to avoid coming into the lobby of the police department, unless it is a case of an emergency.
  • We will be temporarily allowing our officers to take reports over the phone for any issues or incidents that we feel would not require a visit to your home. Some examples could be neighbor disputes/civil matters, calls for advice, credit card/identity theft, and animal matters that are not a threat to public safety.
  • No citizen fingerprints will be taken at the station until further notice.
  • If you have a situation that can be resolved over the phone by speaking with a police officer, please call our business line at 978-422-7331. Please continue to use 911 for all emergencies and medical calls.
  • Police records request can be made through e-mail  Dmetcalf@sterling-ma.gov
  • Follow the Department on their Facebook Page for updates.    
 
Public Library
  • All direct library services are suspended, including delivery and pick-up of materials. 
  • Visit https://sterlinglibrary.org   for the library’s latest updates.
  • Online resources and remote access through Overdrive and Libby for downloadable books and audiobooks are available, as are reference databases.
  • Electronic library cards can be obtained for the Boston Public Library’s online resources by visiting https://www.bpl.org/
  • Visit our Facebook page for updates and resources we are adding that you can use from home.
  • Fines will not be charged on overdue materials while the State of Emergency continues. Please keep any materials you have at home until further notice; please do not put materials in the book drop outside of the library.
  • If you have any questions about remote access to books and audiobooks that you can download at home  check the Library Services page on our website https://sterlinglibrary.org
 
 
Recreation Department & Facilities
  • Recreation Programming: Updates about program statuses are available on our Town of Sterling webpage.
  • Outdoor Facilities: At this time, the Town of Sterling has not closed any of our outdoor facilities (fields, playgrounds, courts, etc.) to public use. However, it is imperative that individuals follow the practice of social distancing while at the properties. Groups from various households should not use these properties to congregate; no social gathering. Please be aware that surfaces at these facilities have not been and cannot be sanitized.
  • Recreation Office: As part of the overall closure of the Butterick Municipal Building to the public, the Recreation office will not be physically open to the public. Recreation Department staff will be able to answer e-mails and phone calls at this time.
  • Resident Beach Stickers & Non-Resident Passes: Resident beach stickers will not be issued while the building is closed to the public. The sale date of Non-Resident Passes has been postponed. Updates about when these processes will be available again will be posted on our Town of Sterling webpage or call the office.
  • Contact Information:  Phone: 978-422-3041 Email: recreation@sterling-ma.gov
  • Website: www.sterling-ma.gov/recreation-department
 
Senior Center / COA
  • The Senior Center is closed for activities and programs.    
  • Staff and volunteers are available to provide meals on wheels, take-out meals for our more vulnerable congregate lunch participants, transportation services, outreach services and other services deemed necessary as a result of the pandemic.
  • For more information call 978 422 3032 or check our website for announcements / updates.  www.sterling-ma.gov/senior-center
     
Town Clerk
 
Treasurer/Collector’s Office
  • The Town’s online payment systems allows residents to pay real estate, personal property and motor vehicle excise taxes online, in addition to paying water bills. 
  • https://www.sterling-ma.gov/treasurer-collector/pages/pay-bills-online
  • The payment drop box continues to be available 24/7 in the front of Town Hall building.
  • When making out check(s), please make it payable to the Town of Sterling.
  • If you would like a receipt for your payment mailed back to you, please include your whole bill and a self-addressed stamped envelope with your check(s).
  • If you have received an excise tax bill for a vehicle that you no longer own, please fill out the abatement form on the back of the bill and send it back to the Assessor's office with the required documents. 
  • For safety reasons, yours and ours, we are not accepting cash payments at this time. See alternative arrangements above.
 
Zoning Board of Appeals
  • Contact Patty Page at 978-422-8111 x. 2301 if you have any Zoning Board of Appeals questions or for application guidance.
  • Please be sure to check the town’s Calendar/Public Meetings website page https://www.sterling-ma.gov/calendar, for any possible changes in schedules.
 
As a reminder:
  • Take every day precautionary actions to avoid the spread of respiratory viruses like the flu and COVID-19, such as washing your hands frequently for 20 seconds with soap and warm water (or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available), avoiding people who are sick, avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth, and covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue.
  • People who are sick should stay home and not go into crowded public places or visit people in hospitals.
  • Anyone who is experiencing a fever and/or respiratory illness and is concerned they have either come into contact with the virus advised to contact their primary health care provider.
  • Practice social distancing at all times
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks. If surfaces are dirty, clean them: Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
  • Get the flu vaccine.
Think about your own personal preparedness for you and your family https://www.mass.gov/know- plan-prepare/
 
For the most up-to-date public health information, please visit these websites:
Massachusetts Government Corona Virus Update - http://www.mass.gov/2019coronavirus
Massachusetts Department of Public Health – https://www.mass.gov/orgs/department-of-public-health
U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention – https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
Mass.gov: Know, Plan, Prepare – https://www.mass.gov/know-plan-prepare
 
 
Thank you for your patience and understanding.
 
With everyone’s cooperation, the Town’s residents, and employees will be safer.
 
Sincerely,
Ross Perry
Sterling Town Administrator