Short Takes from the July 22 Selectmen’s Meeting

By Ben Oleksinski

At their July 22 meeting, the Selectmen heard a mid-summer update on Springs Brook Park, considered a change of title under Charter review, and approved several DPW contracts, among other orders of business:

Springs Brook Park Mid-Summer Update
Town Manager Sarah Stanton and Recreation Director Amy Hamilton updated the Selectmen on status of revenue, expenditures, and enrollment for Springs Brook Park so far this summer.

Revenue was reported to be slightly down as inconsistent weather has resulted in more days where Springs Brook Park closed early and one day was closed completely. Expenses were reported to be up, but this remains a function of the date at which the bills are paid. To trim money spent, concessions have been scaled back. DPW expenses are projected to increase from $10,000 to $15,000.

Membership statistics were also presented. Full-family memberships were reported to be down 15%, while limited membership is up 9%. This was attributed to a switch of more families going from one membership option to the other. The Recreation Department will explore new initiatives to get people to sign up for memberships. The decline in percentage was expected, given what Springs Brook Park has seen historically in the past few years.

Hamilton reported Springs Brook Park revenue has met revenue projections.

It has not yet been determined if there will be an adjustment in staff. This summer reported a high return rate for staff coming back from last season.

The information provided the Selectmen with a telling snapshot for the rest of summer. This was only a midseason update, and a complete year-end update will be presented in September.

DPW Contracts
Contracts were approved for equipment purchases and projects in town.

Selectmen approved funding for a Massachusetts Department of Transportation (Mass DOT) Chapter 90 Project Request at $935,500. The work to be done includes roadway reconstruction at Hemlock Lane, Hilltop Drive, and the Glenridge Drive neighborhood.

Selectmen approved the purchase of one Front End Loader from C.N. Wood Company at $152,667.

P.J. Albert, Inc. was hired for trench, milling and patching services at $88,500.

Proposed Charter Review Discussion
Selectmen reviewed a spreadsheet summarizing all that is being discussed by the Charter and Bylaw Review Committee at this time.

The discussion mainly concerned a proposed change in title for the Selectmen in the Charter. No member was particularly attached to the term “Selectmen”. Proposed name changes include “Select Board Member” and “Town Council.” Town Manager Stanton updated the spreadsheet accordingly.

Another notable item was changing the scope of authority for the Town Manager position to encompass assessors. This would bring new administrative functions and day-to-day responsibilities to the town manager’s office.

The items are all currently at an early draft stage; the Committee is not yet in a place to take a firm position on any proposition. Legal counsel has yet to review any changes to the Charter.

All Alcohol Beverage License Transfer
Selectmen approved the transfer of an all-alcohol beverage license for the DoubleTree Hotel at 47 Middlesex Turnpike. The reason was a straightforward change of ownership from DA Bedford Hotels LLC to Crescent Hotels. Under the new management company, there will be no changes in day-to-day operations, hours, or operation of the license itself.

Committee Appointments
Jane Franklin will return to the Bedford Cultural Council after serving two consecutive terms and stepping down for at least one year per Mass Cultural Council guidelines. Her new three-year term will end in June 2022

Appointment of Election Workers
Selectmen approved the annual appointment of Election Workers as a slate, given the long list of names. All names had been fully vetted by the Town Clerk and recommended for approval.

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