Westborough to hold Special Town Meeting Oct. 21


School projects, Spurr House, and climate change resolution on warrant

 By Bonnie Adams, Managing Editor

 Westborough – Voters will decide the outcome of 21 warrant articles at the Special Town Meeting (STM) to be held Monday, Oct. 21, starting at 7 p.m. The articles will cover a vast array of standard items related to roads, stormwater, water and sewer. Other articles will address monies to fund two union contracts, school improvements; a vote on a non-binding climate change action resolution; and the sale of the town-owned Spurr House.

Voters will be asked to fund two contracts, the Clerical Union and the Department of Public Works Union. According to the warrant, the town had not completed negotiations for these two unions by the time of the fiscal year 2020 budget being voted on at the annual town meeting held in March.

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Article 5 will ask the voters to approve an independent staffing study for all non-public safety town departments. In Town Manager Kristi Williams’ “article information” section on the warrant, she notes “in addition to assessing roles and responsibilities, the study will look at opportunities for consolidation, shared resources, and regionalization.”

Four articles relate to school repairs or improvements.

Article 7 is a request for $175,000 to make necessary safety drainage system engineering, repairs, and stairwell replacements at the Westborough High School upper parking lot areas.

Article 8 is a request to amend prior debt authorizations to allow for reallocation of monies to be used for the Armstrong School Playground Project. According to Williams’ notes, the article seeks to amend debt authorization proved at previous town meetings for the Armstrong Modular project, the remaining authorization equaling $100,000, and reallocate surplus funds from the Hastings Pre-K project for the purposes of upgrading the Armstrong School Playground project. The playground project is estimated at $383,000.

Article 9 will ask voters to approve a reallocation of $133,000 in surplus funds granted at the 2017 ATM to augment Article 22 of the 2019 ATM for the sprinkler and fire alarm upgrade at the Elsie A. Hastings Elementary School. According to Williams’ notes, “The current sprinkler project design is complete and [the town] anticipates going to bid shortly for this work. Current estimates after design is the basis for this increase in funding.”  The total cost of this project is estimated at $760,000.

Article 10 will ask voters to amend and allow for the reallocation of $2.4 million previously voted funds, and then to also borrow $487,650 to pay for costs of HVAC improvements at the Elsie A. Hastings Elementary School.

The Committee Sustainable Westborough is requesting, via Article 11, that the voters approve a non-binding resolution that will provide directions and goals for the town to move foward regarding issues related to climate change. The article asks that the Town Manager create a Task Force to develop a comprehensive Climate Action Plan by the 2021 ATM to define Westborough’s path to 100 percent renewable energy.

The sale of the Spurr House, located at 7 Parkman St., is the subject of Article 12. This past summer, the property was put out to bid, with two bids being received. The town entered into a purchase and sale agreement with one bidder on Sept. 16.

The STM will be held Monday, October 21, starting at 7 p.m. at the Westborough High School Auditorium, 90 West Main St. The full warrant can be found on the town’s website,