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Seven Bylaws Up for Vote at Annual Town Meeting

A total of seven bylaws are up for vote during Upton's May 10 Annual Town Meeting. Of the seven, two are new general bylaws and the remaining are being brought forward by the Personnel Board.

Article 11 on the warrant is to put in place a new Affordable Housing Trust, the purpose of which is to provide for the preservation and creation of affordable housing in Upton to benefit low income households. All communities in Massachusetts are required to have ten percent affordable housing; Upton currently has seven percent.

If established at the Town Meeting, the Affordable Housing Trust will be overseen by a seven member Board of Trustees to be appointed by the Board of Selectmen. Another article on the warrant, Article 19, seeks to disband the Local Community Housing Partnership Committee. If the Affordable Housing Trust is established, the Committee would no longer be necessary.

Article 12 is to put into place a Storm Water Bylaw which, if passed, will regulate the amount and quality of storm water runoff in an effort to minimize the harmful impact it has on surface water drinking supplies, groundwater resources, and property values, among others. The town's Conservation Commission shall enforce the bylaw.

Storm water runoff comes from rain or melting snow that runs off across land instead of seeping into the ground and then flows into the nearest stream, creek, river, or lake; on its way, it can pick up and carry substances that pollute water.

The extensive Storm Water Bylaw discusses applicability, an erosion and sediment control plan, and fines, among many other details. The complete bylaw can be found on the Conservation Commission's page located at upton.ma.us.

The remaining bylaws on the warrant are being sponsored by the Personnel Board.

Article 14 is seeking to establish a meritorious bonus program that would pay a one-time additional bonus payment to a nonunion, noncontracted employee whose work goes significantly above expectations.

Article 15 concerns the use of electronic devices and social media among town employees and would set a policy in place concerning their uses during work hours.

Article 16 will amend a bylaw that provides more consistency regarding vacation time between union and nonunion employees who have worked for the town for more than 20 years.

Article 17 will establish a short-term disability policy for eligible employees. All full time and regular part time employees working at least 20 hours or more may take part. Employees who are sick or disabled must use their existing sick time for the first 15 days they are out, after which their short-term disability kicks in.

And finally, Article 18 is asking to amend the town's bylaw concerning the amount of sick time to town employees. If passed, the amendment will allow employees to carry up to 40 days of sick time rather than 20 days.

The May 10 Annual Town Meeting will begin at 7 p.m. at Nipmuc Regional High School. The finalized warrant will be posted on the town's Web site at upton.ma.us.




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