Herb McHarg, Norwood’s town attorney, appeared before the Norwood Town Board of Trustees last week to discuss and explain a state settlement regarding opioid funds. On the agenda, the town had the resolution, and McHarg said it approved the town entering into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the state.
He said there were five different documents to sign and that Mayor Kieffer Parrino would have to execute them.
According to McHarg, the state’s attorney general signed a settlement with certain pharmaceutical companies regarding opioids and the state’s addiction problem. McHarg said for Colorado to receive full payment of that settlement, 95 percent of local governments have to execute the MOU.
"That’s why the state is asking us to sign this,” he said.
The MOU applies to the current settlement and future settlements, too. The settlement payments are to be shared by local governments, the state’s regions and the greater state.
Settlement funds must be used for approved purchases, including prevention of opioid addiction, treatment for opioid addiction and harm reduction.
McHarg told Norwood trustees that if the town didn’t sign the MOU, the local area wouldn’t receive any funds.
He explained that one of the documents was an escrow agreement, and that all signed opioid settlement documents would sit in escrow with an agent until the outcome of participation was known. If 95 percent participation statewide was not reached, the escrow agent would destroy all documents.
“Do we want to receive these funds and distribute them according to the guidelines for approved purposes?” McHarg asked trustees.
He said the Town of Norwood could also sign an intergovernmental agreement, so that a regional council could oversee how the funds are managed. He said the region could account for the money and see that spending complies with state guidelines.
McHarg said any funds Norwood might see would be nominal. He said management can be decided at a later date — whether it’s worth it for the town to manage the settlement money, or if it’s better to turn that responsibility over to the region.
Trustee Jaime Schultz said she wanted to see a list of approved uses for the money.
McHarg said that information might be available as an exhibit in the MOU document.
One thing the funds could be used for is Narcan, so that EMS or law enforcement could keep it on hand in case of a local opioid overdose.
Town trustees voted to sign the MOU.