FinCom Approves Across the Board FY22 Spending Guideline of 3.5% ~ Reserve Funds to Offset Increases

The Finance Committee, culminating a summit meeting of municipal and school leaders, Thursday approved not only a spending guideline for fiscal year 2022 but also plans for allocations from reserves that will offset the increased expenditures.

The 3.5 percent guideline for the period beginning July 1, 2021, was endorsed by a vote of 7-0-1. It translates to about $2.1 million in additional expenses. The committee agreed to use the stabilization fund and free cash to cover that.

Finance Director Victor Garofalo pointed out that there will still be a modest tax increase, because line items under the umbrella of fixed costs – such as debt principal and interest, insurance, water – are projected to grow by 3.2 percent.

Although unfolding with a backdrop of the continuing pandemic and resulting rampant uncertainty, Thursday’s meeting was at times almost celebratory in its affirmation of the consensus on the future financial path. There was frequent praise for the dedication and performance of town employees during the crisis.

Bedford’s Certified Election Results

Town Clerk Bridget Rodrigue certified the results of Bedford’s November 3 election on November 18, 2020, and forwarded them to the Elections Division under William F. Galvin, Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Click this link to view, print, or download a full-sized, scalable PDF of the certified 2020 vote totals.

Massachusetts Population-Based Covid Metrics ~ November 18, 2020 ~ Week 3

Mass.Gov updates the Commonwealth’s community-level coronavirus data every Thursday and displays it in a 97-page PDF report. Click https://www.mass.gov/doc/weekly-covid-19-public-health-report-november-19-2020/download for the November 19 report.

On the report’s November 18 map, Bedford appears as a “GREEN” community.

Total Case Count: 330

Two Week case Count: 15
Average Daily Incidence Rate Per 100,000: 7.1
Relative Change In Case Count: Higher

Total Tests: 15,668
Total Tests Last 14 Days: 11384
Positive Tests Last 14 Days: 16
Percent Positivity: 1.16%
Change In Percent Positivity: Higher

The Commonwealth now reports state-wide Covid statistics in a daily dashboard found at https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-response-reporting#covid-19-daily-dashboard-.

The Elector Among Us: Bedford’s Tom Larkin to Cast an Official Vote for the President of the United States

Bedford’s Tom Larkin is among the 538 electors who will officially elect the next President of the United States.

Larkin was chosen by the Massachusetts Democratic Party to represent the Commonwealth at the Electoral College on December 14. Massachusetts is a “winner take all state” where all electors are chosen by the prevailing party. When he confirmed his selection, Larkin said, “I am honored to have been selected by my colleagues on the Democratic State Committee to the Electoral College.”

Planning Board Moves Toward Approving South Road Assisted Living Facility

The Planning Board this week moved a little closer to approving a proposed 92-unit assisted living facility on South Road at the corner of Evergreen Avenue.

Board Chair Jeffrey Cohen advised LCB Senior Living and its attorney, Pamela Brown, to continue drafting a proposed section of the zoning bylaw that would include assisted living definitions. He noted that more than half of the board is in support of that approach.

Select Board Grants Depot Lease to For the Boyz Barber Shop

A town museum? A relocation of Bedford TV? A new home to a barbershop? The Select Board spent most of its November 9 meeting to discuss the lease terms and renewals at the historic depot building, 80 Loomis St.

The board unanimously approved a two-year lease for a new tenant, For-The-Boyz Barber Shop, and a two-year renewal for Bedford Babe Ruth Baseball-Softball, Inc., both expiring on Dec. 31, 2022.

Massachusetts Population-Based Covid Metrics ~ November 12, 2020 ~ Week 2

Mass.Gov updates the Commonwealth’s community-level coronavirus data every Thursday and shares it in an enhanced, 93-page data set. The granular data, categorized by population, will be updated on a weekly or biweekly basis.

The November 12, 2020, map shows Bedford as a “Green” community.

Total Case Count: 319

Select Board Waives Fees to Support Struggling Restaurants

The Select Board Monday voted to waive local license fees for restaurants in 2021.

The decision, recommended by Economic Development Director Alyssa Sandoval, covers victualer and liquor licenses.

Town Manager Sarah Stanton told the board that, although the revenue loss would be around $64,000, the waiver “would be a gesture of goodwill to our restaurant and business community” battered by limitations in response to Covid-19.

Under New Population-Based Covid Metrics, Bedford is Again a Green Community

Mass.Gov updates the Commonwealth’s community-level coronavirus data every week and displays it for each town on a map of the state.

On Friday, November 6, the Commonwealth released a 93-page, enhanced data set. The granular data to be updated on a weekly or biweekly basis, including town-by-town reports, is expected to be released each Friday

Board of Health’s Enforcement Authority Turns Toward Helping Residents

The Board of Health has a lot of code enforcement authority.

But during these extraordinary times, some of that enforcement, enhanced by collaborative departments, is being directed to helping residents in need. Heidi Porter, director of Health and Human Services, stressed that point at Monday’s virtual meeting of the Board of Health.

Board of Health Responds to New Orders from Gov. Baker and Covid Outbreak

At the Board of Health meeting on November 2, the Board reviewed Covid-19 cases in Bedford and the details of Governor Baker’s most recent proclamation on public health measures. The Governor hopes that a limited period of strict enforcement will curtail the recent surge in cases in the Commonwealth. With an increase to 21 new Covid-19 cases over a two-week period, Bedford has moved into the red high-risk category.

The new order will require the wearing of face-coverings by all persons in all public places, even where they are able to maintain six feet of distance from others. The rule applies to riders on transit vehicles and within retail stores.

The new rule also limits gatherings in private homes as well as public spaces, with potential fines for both.

The new guidelines go into effect at 12:01 am tomorrow, Friday, November 6, 2020.

The full Governor’s full order can be found here: https://www.mass.gov/doc/covid-19-order-54/download

Preparing for Bedford’s Tax Rate Classification Hearing on November 23

The average residential property tax bill for  FY21, the current fiscal year, will increase by 4.3 percent, if the Select Board on November 23 decides to retain the town’s long-standing tax classification ratio.

The calculation was defined at Wednesday evening’s meeting of the Board of Assessors, Bedford’s governmental entity that sets the tax rate each year.

New Massachusetts Law Enhancing Unemployment Benefits Supported by Rep. Gordon and Sen. Barrett

Representative Ken Gordon (D-Bedford) and Senator Mike Barrett (D-Lexington) joined their colleagues in the Massachusetts Legislature on Monday, October 26 to pass An Act relative to additional unemployment benefits for the neediest recipients currently excluded from the Lost Wages Assistance program, which enhances unemployment benefits for certain Massachusetts workers by as much as $1,800 each. The Governor signed the legislation into law last week.

Preliminary Election Results for Bedford’s Four Precincts Show a 79.8% Turnout

Bedford’s preliminary vote totals for all four precincts were posted late last night.  Town Clerk Bridget Rodrigue is on target to certify the final vote by the November 18 deadline.

With 8,506 ballots cast as of November 3 and 10,657 registered voters, Bedford’s preliminary turnout was 79.8%.

The Town’s preliminary results, as released by the Town Clerk’s office:

Stay Tuned: Partial Bedford Vote Totals Are Expected Soon

Town Clerk Bridget Rodrique plans to post preliminary voting machine tapes this evening, with Bedford’s official count available somewhat later.

Bedford’s polls closed at the stroke of 8 pm on Tuesday evening; the final voter was a new resident who has only lived in town a short time and seemed pleased to have been able to vote.

ELECTION DAY, 2020 ~ At the Start

 

More than 80 voters lined up before the polls opened at 7 o’clock on Tuesday morning. Bedford’s ‘Voter One’ arrived at 6 am, ahead of anyone else. “The parking lot was empty,” she said later. Poll workers began to arrive for their 6:30 am shift start, and the line of voters began to build. A poll worker was assigned to confirm voter precincts before entering the JGMS gymnasium, and others pointed the way to the new entry — formerly the exit.

Quarantined? You Can Request an Emergency Absentee Ballot

According to the Secretary of the Commonwealth, if you have been admitted to a healthcare facility or you are instructed to quarantine in your home within 1 week of Tuesday’s election, you may request an absentee ballot application to designate someone of your choice to bring a ballot to you.

Town of Bedford ~ Update on Covid-19 ~ Friday, 30 October 2020

In addition to this week’s case counts, the summary includes Bedford goes “Red” high-risk COVID-19 community on the Mass. DPH COVID-19 map designation;  Bedford High School transitions to virtual learning for two weeks; and Halloween Safety Tips

Click this link to read the Town’s full update for Friday, October 30, 2020

Bedford Statistics on Mass.Gov’s Covid Map ~ October 29, 2020

Mass.Gov updates the Commonwealth’s community-level coronavirus data every Thursday and displays it for each town on a map of the state.

On the October 29 map, Bedford appears as a “Red” community.

Total Case Count: 308