By Jordan Stewart
In their first meeting since the March 9 election, Town Clerk Doreen Tremblay swore in new member Emily Mitchell and William Moonan, beginning his fourth term. Mitchell replaced Caroline Fedele, who had served two three-year terms as a Selectman. In a unanimous vote, Selectman Mike Rosenberg was selected to be the new chair, and Ed Pierce was voted the new clerk.
Later, the Selectmen heard from Renu Bostwick regarding Article 18 on the Warrant for the Annual Town Meeting. Bostwick, a member of Mothers Out Front who has been involved in numerous sustainability efforts, presented the petitioner’s article, giving an impassioned explanation of the necessity of the Article. Article 18 is an expression of concern on behalf of the town for the current lack of action on the local, state, and federal level to combat Global Warming. Bostwick described the state of the climate as “a deep bathtub, with the tap being our emissions. We are in this bathtub, almost submerged. It is not quite full yet, but it’s getting very close,” expressing fear for the future and asserting that action must be taken immediately. The article asks for the Selectmen to present these environmental concerns to Bedford’s elected representatives, such as senators and congressmen. Bostwick explained that putting these concerns in the eyes of officials is essential for progress to be made. She hopes that bringing the article to Town Meeting will gather the support of not just the Selectmen, but Bedford citizens as a whole. The Selectmen stated they will be taking a position on the article before the Town Meeting, but they have not yet determined what it is.
On a similar note, Selectman Margot Fleischman presented the Energy and Sustainability Committee’s pitch for Bedford to join the We Are Still In campaign. We Are Still In is a coalition of cities, businesses, and individuals declaring their commitment to meeting the goals of the Paris Climate Accords. The agreement is non-committal and requires no extra spending; it is simply a declaration of support of the principles of the Paris Climate Agreements. Both Article 18 and this campaign demonstrate actions being taken by local groups to combat climate change. [The United States has given notice that it plans to withdraw from the Agreement as of November 4, 2020, Wikipedia contributors. “United States withdrawal from the Paris Agreement.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 13 Feb. 2019. Web. 13 Mar. 2019.
Elizabeth Rust, Regional Housing Services Office director, gave an update on the recently completed Bedford Housing Study. The study has compiled information from more than 10 sources, including assessors, census data, and permit data, to create a report on the current situation of housing in Bedford. The report encompasses everything from low-income housing to availability for different age groups to a disparity in income and housing prices. The study detailed issues facing housing in Bedford. For example, the study discovered that a household earning Bedford’s median income $117,688 could only afford to purchase a $427,500 home. The average home in Bedford in 2017 sold for $698,000, with only 9% being under the $427,500 mark. The Selectmen praised Rust’s work, with Selectman Fleischman calling much of the information “eye-opening”. With the data gathered, plans can be made by the town to address issues in housing prices and availability.
The full Bedford Housing Study can be viewed here