Crowded warrant for Town Meeting

Among the issues facing voters at the annual Town Meeting on May 9 will be the $17.6 million operating budget proposed for next fiscal year, and a $7 million renovation of Town Hall that is higher than previously estimated. At last year’s Town Meeting, voters OK’d spending $400,000 to cover planning and design work for the Town Hall overhaul, which officials predicted at the time would cost a total of about $5.6 million, most of which could be covered by Community Preservation Act funds. However, when the bids were opened, they were much higher than expected, due to problems with the building uncovered during the planning, according to Town Manager Blythe Robinson. Another article among the 35 on the Town Meeting warrant is a potential change in the way the town clerk is chosen. The proposal would have selectmen appoint the position, rather than have it filled by voters. Kelly McElreath, the current clerk, has endorsed the change. Voters will also be asked to decide whether Upton should join the Central Massachusetts Mosquito Control Project, to approve $235,000 for exterior repairs to the police station, and whether the town should join a cooperative arrangement with other towns to buy electricity at a potentially reduced cost. The full text of the warrant is online at the town’s website, www.uptonma.us.