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Upton Moves Forward with Inter-Municipal Agreements

The Board of Selectmen signed off on three separate agreements that will provide shared services between Upton and several local communities. A discussion on the details of the agreements took place during a June 7 meeting.

Over the years, the Selectmen have seen the benefits of shared services. In 2012, the town entered into an inter-municipal agreement with Hopedale to provide the community with its ring down dispatch services.

Now Upton will be sharing Conservation Agent services as well as Public Health Nursing services. "It's great to see that we're slowly expanding on this. We benefit, other towns benefit, but most importantly, the town of Upton benefits," said Selectman Chair James Brochu.

Town Manager Blythe Robinson explained that at one point Upton shared a Conservation Agent with Ashland until that agreement ended. "We sought a new partner in Northbridge. This is going to work out well for us because rather than buying services from another town, we'll be selling it to Northbridge," she explained. As a result, the position will be limited to part time and without benefits, saving the town approximately $7,000 annually. "Northbridge is excited about it because they've been wanting to hire an agent."

During the discussion, the Board also approved an agreement to share Upton's Public Health nursing services with Blackstone and Bellingham; Upton's nurse is Trish Parent. Upton was already in a shared service agreement for nursing services with Blackstone. As a result of its success, the Selectmen renewed that agreement. In addition, they agreed to begin an inter-municipal agreement for nursing services with Bellingham and signed off on a new agreement for that as well.

Parent works 20 hours per week with benefits. "Doing these agreements allows us to charge those other towns a portion of those costs we already have," explained Robinson. The agreements also helps to bring in some revenue to Upton. "She [Parent] likes the fact that she can earn a little bit more and work more of a full time schedule."

Selectman Gary Daugherty said he was really pleased that the agreements were going forward. "They're really beneficial for our town and the others towns because we're getting a service that we couldn't normally afford ourselves. I hope to see more agreements in the future."

Speaking of the Conservation Agent, the Selectmen then appointed David Pickart as the new part-time Conservation Agent who will be working for both Upton and Northbridge. Pickart had been appointed by Northbridge town officials the day prior.


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