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Article 4 endorsed by the Upton Board of Selectman (BOS) and approved at Special Town Meeting is not in the best interest of Upton taxpayers. Article 4 calls for spending $23,900 dollars to purchase the Town Manager a “new” green vehicle. Limited records provided by Town Hall reflect that the Town Manager travels on average 4000 miles a year. Requests to the BOS to provide detailed and coherent documents along with legitimate rationale to validate their endorsement for Article 4 have been denied. The BOS Chairman will only address Article 4 and related concerns at a Public Meeting subject to “his” rules.
I applaud the BOS efforts to have Upton be recognized by Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs as a green community. However, the BOS decision to endorse Article 4 based on green criterion only does not by itself stand up to public scrutiny. I am not opposed to the Town Manager being compensated for travel required to conduct town business. That being understood I argue that purchasing new fuel efficient vehicles be targeted at departments that have greater annual mileage requirements. The BOS Chairman’s position that Green Criterion restricts the Town Manager’s vehicle to only a “new” fuel efficient green vehicle is not accurate.
Well managed communities officially designated green utilize a variety of money saving approaches with respect to low mileage vehicles. Measures include repairs to existing vehicles, leasing green vehicles, purchasing used green vehicles and/or mileage reimbursements. The BOS should explore all options with respect to the Town Managers transportation. The potential savings generated by these alternatives could be applied to more critical needs. These scenarios given the proposed 2016 tax increase would satisfy green criterion and maximize returns on Upton taxpayer dollars.
The BOS lacks transparency with respect to Article 4. Recorded video of BOS meetings and the November 15, 2015 Special Town Meeting along with associated minutes supplied by the Town Clerk confirms that only the purchase of a “new” green vehicle was discussed. The BOS has not done its due diligence. They have not offered Upton taxpayers any cost effective alternatives with respect to endorsing Article 4.
The Town Manger’s request for a “new” vehicle appears to be self-serving. The BOS has failed to present a balanced argument that justifies their endorsement for Article 4. Please vote no on Article 4.
William D. Montenegro