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Upton Votes $3.4 Million Debt Exclusion for New Water Source

In an effort to bring a third water source online, Upton officials are presenting a $3.397 million Proposition 2½ debt exclusion vote at the May 10 Annual Town Meeting.

The third municipal wellfield is to be built on West River St and is something town officials have been moving toward for some time. Based on studies from as far back as 1998, the need for a third water source has been documented. Residents currently receive their water from the Glen Ave. well field and the West River well. However, due to the age of the existing wells and wear and tear, town officials believe a third municipal well field is critical. According to a recent presentation given, Upton's water supply does not meet the summer average daily demand if one well is off line.

To date, a number of steps have already been taken toward the new water source, including purchasing the land for it, conducting test well exploration, performing a pump test, and commissioning designs for $885,000.

The new water source is to be funded 50 percent by the system's users and the remaining 50 percent by the general tax base. Town Treasurer/Collector Ken Glowacki estimates the tax impact to residents over a 25 year bond to be approximately $10.

In order to pass, the debt exclusion must be voted on twice. If voters approve Article 10 at the Annual Town Meeting to fund the project, a second ballot vote is scheduled for June 12. If voters support the second vote, work would then begin on the new wellfield in July with a projected completion date of the fall of 2013.

Another article on warrant, Article 33, also concerns the town's well fields and is requesting $30,000 from free cash in order to supplement $286,000 that was approved at last year's Annual Town Meeting to complete the Glen Ave. well field replacement project.

Several other large money articles involving infrastructure include Article 28, which will raise and appropriate from the tax levy $50,000 to address drainage and road issues on Christian Hill Road, Braddish Farm Road, and Hartford Avenue South. And Article 35 will borrow $70,000 from the water enterprise account and taxpayers to fund the designs for the replacement of the water main on Hartford Avenue North. Town officials would like to complete this before upgrades to the road begin.

Article 21 concerns the next steps toward renovating the Town Hall with Community Preservation Act funding. If passed, voters will authorize $398,000 be spent from CPA funding to complete the architectural designs for the project. The Town Hall is not handicapped accessible, lacks sufficient office space, and is not considered energy efficient. If Article 21 passes, designs will be complete with the intent to then come back to next year's Town Meeting to request the funding to complete the renovations. To date, the estimate to complete the entire project is $5.5 million, of which approximately 98 percent is CPA eligible.

The Annual Town Meeting will take place at Nipmuc Regional High School and will begin at 7 p.m.


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