Springs Brook Audit Receives Feedback from the Finance Committee

By Peter Manning

The Finance Committee met on December 13 to discuss Springs Brook Park’s recent audit. The roughly 35-page document was recently reviewed by the Selectmen, whose general observations were noted in a previous Bedford Citizen article. As a brief summary, they were impressed with the report, calling it thorough and a good standard for future projects.

Annual Town Meeting 2018 ~ Finance Committee Recommendations

Editor’s Note: The Bedford Citizen thanks the Finance Committee for sharing their rationale for each of the Articles in the Warrant for Annual Town Meeting, beginning on March 26, 2018

Submitted by the Bedford Finance Committee
Chair: Ben Thomas; Vice Chair: Elizabeth McClung; Clerk: Paul Mortenson; Members: Thomas Busa, Stephen Carluccio, Karen Dunn, Erica Liu, David Powell, and Stephen Steele

The Finance Committee has a responsibility for creating the budget for the Town, as well as providing for recommendations on articles in the Town Meeting Warrant. The committee reviews each article on the Warrant, listens to presentations, asks questions, discusses and finally votes for a recommendation. While our recommendations are printed in the warrant, we are presenting additional information about our recommendations in advance of Town Meeting. It is our hope and goal that making this additional information available will be of benefit to the voters.

Public Comment Period is Underway for Bedford’s FY2018 Property Valuation – Classification Hearing Set for February 12

Compiled by The Bedford Citizen
With appreciation for information posted on the Town of Bedford’s website

After an extended process, Bedford’s Assessors are in the final stretch as they complete their triennial revaluation of the town’s assets, and the ultimate certification of Bedford’s FY2018 tax rate.

According to the Town’s website, the reevaluation began two years ago and concluded with the Department of Revenue’s audit of Bedford’s methodologies and the values derived through the town’s mass appraisal system.

Fiscal Year 2018 Tax Rates

mitted by the Town of Bedford

There will be a public hearing at the February 12, 2018, meeting of the Bedford Selectmen pending the Massachusetts Department of Revenue preliminary certification of property values. At the hearing, the Selectmen will determine the percentages of the tax levy to be borne by each class of real property: residential, commercial, industrial and personal property for the Fiscal Year 2018 (July 1, 2017, through June 30, 2018).

Assessors Settle Tax Dispute with Verizon

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.]

Finance Committee Reviews the Bedford Education Association Teacher Contract

By Lizzie Seibert

Bedford School Superintendent Jon Sills presented details about the School Department’s recently negotiated contract with Bedford’s Educators Association at the Finance Committee’s May 25 meeting. The contract will include cost of living adjustments (COLA), with increases of 2% in 2018, 2.5% in 2019, and 2% in 2020, as well as an additional professional day per year.

Finance Committee Discusses Lane School Parking Lot, Zoning Bylaws, and Public Works

By Lizzie Seibert

At its meeting on March 16, the Finance Committee deferred its recommendation decision on the Davis School parking lot expansion, after Superintendent Jon Sills presented an explanation of the project. Sills explained that the project, which would cost $300,000, is aimed at expanding parking for a growing staff, visitors to Davis, parents, and volunteers, that the current parking cannot accommodate. He hopes the project will expedite pick up and drop off and reduce late arrivals at Davis, which Sills said is a problem. The project will also grow the school’s bus loop to accommodate 4-5 additional buses. The project additionally incorporates an attachment to the area’s bike trail.

Finance Committee Recommends Approval of Bond Authorization for Bedford Village

By Lizzie Seibert

At its March 9 meeting, the Finance Committee voted to approve a bond authorization of $3 million for preservation of affordable housing units at Bedford Village. Bond authorization is appended to Article 21 of the Warrant for Town Meeting (Community Preservation article). Because a bond authorization requires a 2/3 vote, this will be voted on separately from the line items in the CPC budget, which only require a majority vote.

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