Vote by Mail is Now the Law of the Commonwealth

Representative Ken Gordon (D-Bedford) and Senator Mike Barrett (D-Lexington) joined their colleagues in the Massachusetts Legislature last week to pass a bill that expands voter access and ensures voters have safe voting options for all remaining 2020 elections, including the September 1, 2020 state primary and November 3, 2020, general election, in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The bill became law on Monday after receiving Governor Charlie Baker’s signature.

The legislation establishes a vote-by-mail option and an early voting period for the upcoming fall elections. In addition to those options, the bill also addresses polling place safety for those who choose to cast their ballots in person. 

Annual Town Meeting 2020, and Special Town Meeting ~ FinCom Recommendations

The Finance Committee has a responsibility for preparing 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.

Mosquito Season is Upon Us!

Mosquitoes are most active in Massachusetts from June through August, but the true determination of mosquito activity is weather dependent.

Most adult mosquitoes can be found during the day in damp, shady areas where they can find protection from the sun.  Mosquitoes can spread diseases that may make humans and animals sick. Viruses carried by mosquitos can be transmitted to humans or animals through a mosquito bite.

Town of Bedford ~ Update on Covid-19 ~ Monday, 6 July 2020

Editor’s Note: Today’s semi-weekly update from Town Manager Sarah Stanton and the Covid-19 Task Force includes the current case count, Phase 3 re-opening details, and the Town’s information about Annual Town Meeting. Click this link to read the Town’s full update for Monday, July 6, 2020

The semi-weekly update is also available in the following places if you’d like to share with your friends:

Website ~ www.BedfordMA.gov
Facebook ~ @bedfordma
Twitter ~ @BedfordMAGov

Current Cases
As of today, July 6, 2020, there have been a total of two hundred fifty-eight (258) positive cases of COVID-19 reported to the Town of Bedford Board of Health by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MA DPH), of those, one hundred forty-six (146) are Bedford residents not living in a healthcare/long term care setting. The deaths of forty (40) Bedford residents have been attributed to COVID-19. The total case number includes residents of the Town of Bedford, including but not limited to those in: single-family homes, apartments, the VA campus, Hanscom Air Force Base, special needs group homes and any and all other larger assisted living/care facilities in Bedford as reported to us by the MA DPH. Two hundred and one (201) of the total Bedford cases have already recovered and have come off isolation and there may other Bedford residents who would be considered persons under investigation in that they are symptomatic, have undergone testing but have not yet received results.

Fawn Lake Dredging to Begin in Mid-July

At their June 24 meeting, the Select Board addressed Fawn Lake dredging which was scheduled to begin in early 2020. The dredging will remove vegetation and sediment that are encroaching on the lake threatening to destroy it.

Rep. Gordon Supports Bill to Address Racial Inequities in Maternal Health  

Representative Ken Gordon (D-Bedford) joined his colleagues in the House yesterday to pass a bill aimed at eliminating racial inequities in maternal health.

The bill will create a special legislative commission to make recommendations that reduce or remove the kind of racial inequities that result in women of color dying of pregnancy-related causes at more than double the rate of white women. The commission will gather information and raise awareness of this systemic societal problem, in addition to reporting on barriers to equitable maternal care and best practices for remedying inequities.

Town of Bedford’s Semi-weekly Update on Covid-19 ~ Thursday, 2 July 2020

Thursday’s report from the town includes the current case count along with information about Phase 3 Reopening to begin on Monday, July 6; housing resources during Covid-19; Town Meeting, scheduled for 9 am on Saturday, July 11; and suggestions for staying safe while celebrating the 4th of July.

Click this link in the actual story to read the town’s full update for Thursday, July 2, 2020

West Nile Virus ~ Mosquito Treatment Program

The Bedford Department of Public Works has started its annual program to treat catch basins to prevent West Nile Virus, a disease carried by the Culex (Q-lex) mosquito.  

This mosquito mostly breeds in storm drains, but can also survive in any open container holding even a half-inch of water.  

Annual Town Meeting 2020, Part III ~ A Special Town Meeting within the Annual Town Meeting

Every Town Meeting is called by the Select Board issuing a Warrant. That warrant is mailed to all households.  The warrant informs voters where and when the meeting will be and “the subjects to be acted upon.”  No action at Town Meeting is valid unless the voters are informed about what is to be acted upon.

The Warrant for Bedford’s Annual Town Meeting, originally scheduled for March 23, 2020, was issued by the Select Board in mid-February.  That Warrant is what will be considered at the rescheduled Annual Town Meeting on July 11, 2020.

Since that Warrant was issued, a matter of urgency has arisen that requires the action of Town Meeting.  Therefore, on Wednesday, June 10, 2020 the Select Board issued a Warrant for a Special Town Meeting to be held on July 11, 2020.

A Joint Statement from the Bedford Select Board and the Bedford School Committee

As we approach Annual Town Meeting, rescheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we know many of you have questions about reductions to the proposed Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) budget that was prepared and published in the warrant prior to the start of the public health crisis. We hope to answer many of those questions here and explain the reasons behind the reductions.

 Why are we reducing the budget?

The COVID-19 crisis has had a profound impact on the economy. Locally, we anticipate substantial losses in state aid, hotel/motel/meals taxes, investment income, licenses and permits, and other revenue sources. Based on state and local projections, we expect to face a $2.2 million budget shortfall in FY21. We are likely to face similar shortfalls in the following two years. Of the $2.2 million, around $600,000 in reductions are proposed for Town departments, and roughly $1.3 million are proposed for the schools. The remaining funds will come from savings in our debt service and snow/ice removal budgets.

Click through to read the full article

Annual Town Meeting 2020, Part II ~ The Warrant

To all Bedford Voters: This is the second in a series of articles to provide information about Bedford’s Annual Town Meeting, scheduled for July 11, 2020, at 9 am. Click this link to read Part I

The Annual Town Meeting warrant was mailed to all houses in March 2020.  If you cannot locate yours, you can see/download a copy on the Town Meeting website at https://www.bedfordma.gov/town-meeting

Annual Town Meeting, 2020 ~ Part I, Logistics

To all Bedford Voters: This is the first in a series of articles to provide information about Bedford’s Annual Town Meeting, scheduled for July 11, 2020, at 9 am. 

On the surface, our Annual Town Meeting will look different. None of us ever imagined a Town Meeting with physical distancing, face coverings, and outside on a football field on a Saturday! Bedford is not alone. 

Town of Bedford ~ Update on Covid-19 ~ Wednesday, 24 June 2020

Editor’s Note: Today’s case count along with a preview of the new schedule going into effect next week, a mental health check-in, and a reminder about the importance of wearing a mask or other face covering to stop the spread.

Click this link in the actual article to read the Town’s full update for Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Finance Committee Eyes Ultragenyx Agreement

Thanks in part to the efforts of Town Manager Sarah Stanton and Economic Development Director Alyssa Sandoval, biopharmaceutical company Ultragenyx is eyeing Bedford as the home for its newest manufacturing site. Ultragenyx specializes in producing medicines to treat rare and ultra-rare genetic diseases. The company is based in California, with multiple sites there, but settled upon Bedford as the home for their newest manufacturing site.

Town of Bedford ~ Update on Covid-19 ~ Tuesday, 23 June 2020

Today’s case count and the Covid-19 Task Force’s update about the continuing risk of Covid-19, and vulnerable populations.

Click this link in the actual article to read the Town’s full update for Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Town of Bedford ~ Update on Covid-19 ~ Monday, 22 June 2020

Editor’s Note: Today’s case count, updates on Phase II, Step 2 reopening, and a schedule change for Updates from the Town

Click this link in the actual story to read the Town’s full update for Monday, June 22, 2020   

OpEd: Massachusetts Senate Approves Vote-by-Mail Options

By the terms of new legislation approved this past Tuesday in the State Senate, every eligible Massachusetts resident will have the option of voting by mail, a history-making first.  The bill, which passed unanimously, comes amid widespread safety concerns about in-person voting during the pandemic.

The legislation applies to both the September 1st state primary and the November 3rd general election.

Select Board Moves Toward Annual Town Meeting

Annual Town Meeting’s streamlined warrant has been bulked up just a bit with the addition of a concurrent Special Town Meeting (STM). The Special Town Meeting will be held to address a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) agreement with biomedical company Ultragenyx. If approved, the STM would grant the Select Board the ability to negotiate the development of the TIF and to amend an existing development agreement for the site.