Upton town meeting: ATVs, scholarships, bridge decisions
At the annual town meeting June 28, Upton voters will decide whether or not to allow ATVs on town roads, expand the field of young people eligible for Upton college scholarships, and give away a bridge to abutting landowners.
This is the first annual town meeting to be held in June, rather than March or April, and will set a budget for the 2013 calendar year. Townspeople voted last year to change the date.
If the ATV article is approved, riders would be able to use town roads to access ATV trails. The Letter B Notch Riders ATV Club would post signs on ATV trails stipulating a 20 mph speed limit, with access hours between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. All other traffic rules would have to be followed. Selectmen would reserve the right to revoke permission on the roads in the case of misuse.
As the result of a petition circulated by Michelle Bouchard (who also serves as town clerk), voters will be asked to revise the wording of the town scholarship eligibility to allow non-traditional students, such as homeschooled or GED students, who have earned a state credential. The wording currently reads “high school graduate,” which Bouchard said could eliminate students who earn diplomas by other means.
An educator herself, Bouchard also cited online and standards-based means for earning diplomas.
“Many area high schools are leaning toward a different model, where learning isn’t the variable but time is, meaning students could be graduating in less than the traditional four years, and actually spending very little time in a classroom or high school,” she said.
The scholarship offers $1,000 a year to students who achieve a 2.5 grade point average.
Townspeople will also consider the fate of the Dead Cambridge Bridge at the end of Mill Road. Selectmen are presenting two options: make minor repairs to the bridge at an estimated cost of $13,000 to $15,000, or give the bridge to the abutting property owners.
The first choice would maintain the current load limit of 10 tons and last about 10 years. To replace the bridge would cost an estimated $1 million.
In town elections, Bouchard will again be a candidate for town clerk. She said one other person may be interested in the position.
Marie Aron is a candidate for re-election as selectman. Bouchard said Wanda Hall is also a candidate.
Treasurer Jim Rector, who has moved to Hanover, will serve again if townspeople wish, said Bouchard. She said no one else has shown interest in the job. Rector will not, however, be a candidate for tax collector. Charlotte Dominique is expected to run, Bouchard said.
Bouchard has also served on the School Committee. Her term is up, and she will not run again. She said she knows of no one else interested in the position.
Voters will consider an FY’13 school budget of $88,927, with the impact to taxpayers ($67,969) similar to FY’12, according to SAD 44 Supt. Dave Murphy.
In other large money articles, selectmen recommend $17,000 for the transfer station; $ 44,000 for town office expense; $14,000 for municipal buildings; $36,000 for town roads and equipment repair; and $10,500 for insurance.
Bouchard said that unless voters decide to fix the Dead Cambridge Bridge, the municipal budget should be similar to 2012, if all other money articles are approved.
The meeting starts at 7 p.m. at the School Building.