Annual Town Meeting Approved Capital Expenditures Budget

By Artemis Savory

At Town Meeting’s second day, Capital Projects Article 14 met with little argument.  Most questions regarded bonding. Article 14 presented 37 big budget items recommended by the Capital Expenditure Committee, with the final six of these proposed to be paid for with bonds.

On project 19-32, Sewer Force Main Replacement, one resident came forward and asked why the town doesn’t just use free cash to pay the $272,107 for the Sewer Force Main Replacement. According to the 2018 Annual Town Warrant Report for Bedford, the town has free cash from last year in the amount of $12,397,612. The Finance Committee recommends that the town use only $5,665,000 of this amount, and keep at least one percent “of the operating budget in order to mitigate uncertainty in estimates for local receipts and State Aid.” In response to the first resident’s concern, others added that if the town spends the cash now, it might be more expensive to borrow later. Another resident said that if the town buys now while it’s cheap, it might get free cash later.  The project passed unanimously after the brief discussion.

A similar conversation regarded a replacement dump truck (project 19-35), which calls for $215,000 to buy a new truck due to significant rust on the frame of the current vehicle. The current truck is used for plowing, sanding, and painting town roads throughout the year. A resident asked why not use the free cash and offered an amendment. Several residents spoke out against the amendment for a few reasons: they’d prefer to save the cash and spend it throughout the lifetime of the truck, the current Bedford bonding level is 9.07 percent which is in line with the town policy of no more than 10 percent of the budget.

Under project 19-20, the Snack Shack Roof Replacement Project at Sabourin Field, one resident expressed concern about the cost, suggesting $20,000 was a lot to replace the roof. Selectman William Moonan reassured the resident that this will be the first time the roof has ever been repaired, and there is extensive damage to the underlayment. Subsequently, it passed.

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