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Upton Selectmen Review Draft List of Articles

The Upton Board of Selectmen and Town Manager Blythe Robinson are working toward finalizing the warrant for the May 5 Annual Town Meeting. A brief discussion took place during a March 15 meeting concerning some of the articles that might be presented to voters.

An initial draft list showed a total of 33 articles including an estimated a fiscal year 2017 budget of a $20.6 million. "This list I hope looks fairly typical," said Robinson of the first ten or so articles, which are voted on each year. They include the annual budget, the water and wastewater enterprise budgets, Chapter 90 monies, and revolving funds. Departures from the typical list of articles on the warrant draft are bylaw amendments, new capital items, and two citizen petition articles, to underride the town's budget and hiring a consultant to determine fair wages for town employees. An article explaining the citizens' petitions can be found on page 1 of this issue. Another departure from the typical list of warrant articles is the possibility of joining the Central Massachusetts Mosquito Control Program, estimated to cost $52,000.

Robinson explained that she added a new column to the list labeled spring or fall in order for the Selectmen to determine whether or not some capital items may be purchased at a later date next fall. "We are trying to make a change based on a recommendation from an Advisory Committee to hold off on any major capital expenses when we have a better idea of what our free cash and receipts will be. We are going to try and do that as best we can," explained Selectman Chair Ken Picard.

Several capital item purchases on the list included replacing radios for the Police Department estimated to cost $25,000, replace defibrillators for the Fire and Police Departments totaling $27,000, as well as replace turn out gear for the Fire Department for $21,150. Initially, Robinson listed these capital items to be purchased in the fall. "Personally, I would like to move the defibrillators, the radios, and the turnout gear to the spring," said Picard. The town has applied for a grant to fund the defibrillators. "If that passes, we can simply return it to some other use," added Robinson.

Some of the larger capital items on the draft list that may be put off until the fall include a replacement truck for the Department of Public Works (DPW) totaling $54,000 and replacing a highway roller for the DPW totaling $30,000.

"This is just a first pass," said Robinson to the Board. The Board agreed they would have a better understanding of the finalized warrant articles when they met with the Finance Committee the following week.

The May 5 Annual Town Meeting will begin at 7 p.m. and take place at Nipmuc Regional High School.


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