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Upton Recipient of Community Innovative Grant Funding

Lt. Governor Tim Murray and Secretary of Administration and Finance Glen Shor recently announced that Upton was one of a number of communities throughout the Commonwealth awarded grant funding to help continue the town's regionalization efforts. The state's Community Innovation Challenge (CIC) Grant program is meant to give communities incentives to regionalize services and therefore help provide cost-saving measures.

Upton was awarded grants in the categories of municipal storm water management and for information technology.

The Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission (CMRPC) submitted the grant on behalf of the town for its information technology grant. The $112,000 grant will bring electronic permitting, otherwise known as e-permitting, to Upton and eight other communities. E-permitting allows residents to complete different permit applications online saving time and money. Blackstone, Northbridge and Spencer are also participating in the grant funding.

Upton had planned on budgeting for e-permitting in the next fiscal year. However, now that the town is part of the grant funding, costs will be greatly defrayed.

Upton was also part of a 30-town grant submitted by the town of Spencer. The $115,000 funding will help to form a coalition between the 30 communities, which will work together concerning the Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Permits, which are being mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA is mandating multiple, costly responsibilities for towns concerning storm water management, including employee training, public education, field testing, and data collection. "It's more cost effective for communities to do this together," said Town Manager Blythe Robinson.

Last year, Spencer led a grant effort to collaborate with 13 Massachusetts towns to regionalize storm water management efforts. Due to its success, Spencer oversaw this year's grant effort again to add another 17 communities to the coalition, which included Upton. The joint effort is meant to realize costs savings through the teaming up for education and training, pooling resources for regulating policies and procedures and sharing a database management system and equipment. Other local communities included in the collaboration include Grafton, Northbridge, and Westborough.

As communities continue to struggle financially, state officials are encouraging town officials to regionalize various services in order to save money. "Our new fiscal reality demands that government change the way it does business to stretch every taxpayer dollar as far as possible," said Secretary Shor in a press release. "The Patrick-Murray Administration's CIC grant program is just one of the many ways we are working to give cities and towns the tools they need to drive change in local government." In total, $2.25 million was awarded by the CIC grant program among 27 recipients this year.


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