By Lizzie Seibert
At its May 25 meeting, the Finance Committee heard from the Board of Assessors that Bedford has settled its dispute over property taxes, making it possible to release $2.4 million from the Overlay Reserve Account.
The Town has been holding that amount in the reserve account in case the court ruled against the town in a dispute about property taxes assessed on Verizon equipment. The funds no longer need to be held in reserve for possible abatement, but now will become available to the town as free cash. [Overlay Reserves are defined on the Town’s website: Overlay Reserve:Unused accumulated amount of overlay for previous years that is not required to be held in a specific overlay account for a given year. Once released by the Board of Assessors, the funds may be used for any municipal purpose.]
Assessors’ Chair Zoe Pierce began her presentation by saying, “Going forward we just wanted to make sure the knowledge was there that this is a one-time thing. This situation will not happen again.” She explained that the $2.4 million will be released for fiscal year 2017.
Bedford’s reserves may be an issue for special town meeting this fall.
To close out fiscal year 2017, the Finance Committee will continue discussing potential changes in how to use free cash, especially taking into account the increased balance due to the Verizon settlement.
Fin Com’s next meeting is June 29.