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Upton’s Capital Improvement Project Discussed

During an August 20 meeting, the Upton Board of Selectmen reviewed a preliminary copy of its Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) which was submitted by Town Manager Blythe Robinson.

The goal of the CIP is to coordinate the funding and scheduling of large capital purchases for the town and to begin planning for those purchases in the fall. The CIP will include a list of proposed projects within the next six years and indicates the recommendations of citizens, boards and committees, and staff from town departments. Included in the plan is a description and picture of the purchase, the estimated cost, how it will be funded, and a timeline of when the purchase will be completed.

"I feel like it's important for us to have a much more thorough plan in detail upfront in the [budget] process rather than at the end of the process for what our capital needs are for the town," she said. "We need to have a better picture of everything on the immediate and long-term horizon." Robinson said she had recently shown the preliminary CIP to the Finance Committee and received positive feedback from the group. "It's a self imposed project that I think will serve us well," she added.

Selectmen Robert Fleming agreed. "I can

see how this ties right into the reserve policy," he said.

When asked by the Board which projects would be selected for the CIP, Robinson explained it depended on its cost and life expectancy of the project. "Something that is worth more than $20,000 when it has to be replaced and has a useful life of more than five years," she explained. "A five ton truck will definitely be here but a police car will not. A police car often has to be replaced every three or four or five years, so it doesn't meet the test."

Selectman Ken Picard noted the new plan also ties into the town's strategic planning. "It's forecasting, it's measurable, and it's stating what we're going to do," he said. "We're planning for the future."

Selectman Chair James Brochu liked the fact that all town departments will follow the same document, thus making the budget process less confusing. "What's great about this is that everyone, whether it's the Finance Committee or Capital Planning, has the same document in front of them so there's no question or confusion," he said. "There's shouldn't be any surprises," added Robinson.

In the future, Robinson said she plans to place the document on the town's Web site so citizens and stakeholders can review the purchases and therefore keep everyone up to date.


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