As we approach Annual Town Meeting, rescheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we know many of you have questions about reductions to the proposed Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) budget that was prepared and published in the warrant prior to the start of the public health crisis. We hope to answer many of those questions here and explain the reasons behind the reductions.
Why are we reducing the budget?
The COVID-19 crisis has had a profound impact on the economy. Locally, we anticipate substantial losses in state aid, hotel/motel/meals taxes, investment income, licenses and permits, and other revenue sources. Based on state and local projections, we expect to face a $2.2 million budget shortfall in FY21. We are likely to face similar shortfalls in the following two years. Of the $2.2 million, around $600,000 in reductions are proposed for Town departments, and roughly $1.3 million are proposed for the schools. The remaining funds will come from savings in our debt service and snow/ice removal budgets.
Click through to read the full article
Listening to high school students’ stories. Advocating with lawn signs. Expanding housing opportunities. Supporting legislation. Opposing offensive school team names and mascots. Learning more about police efforts to avoid profiling. Collaborating with local resources.
These were some of the dozens of ideas presented in response to a call from the organization Bedford Embraces Diversity to define ways to keep issues of racial equality and justice prominent locally.
Every Town Meeting is called by the Select Board issuing a Warrant. That warrant is mailed to all households. The warrant informs voters where and when the meeting will be and “the subjects to be acted upon.” No action at Town Meeting is valid unless the voters are informed about what is to be acted upon.
The Warrant for Bedford’s Annual Town Meeting, originally scheduled for March 23, 2020, was issued by the Select Board in mid-February. That Warrant is what will be considered at the rescheduled Annual Town Meeting on July 11, 2020.
Since that Warrant was issued, a matter of urgency has arisen that requires the action of Town Meeting. Therefore, on Wednesday, June 10, 2020 the Select Board issued a Warrant for a Special Town Meeting to be held on July 11, 2020.
At Monday’s June 29 meeting, the Finance Committee reviewed the projects included in the Capital Budget for FY21.
Their review comes as the latest update in the town’s push to defer projects from the Capital Budget which may be deemed less urgent in the economic wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.