Community Preservation Committee ~ A Public Hearing on the FY22 Budget

The Covid-19 pandemic has suspended and modified a lot of growth and change locally – including community preservation projects.

The Community Preservation Committee last week voted to approve $1,777,680 in expenditures for projects and services in fiscal year 2022. The recommendations will be presented to the Select Board, which will decide about inclusion on the town meeting warrant.

Less than 8 percent of that total, however, is for new projects. More than half of the money goes to repayment of bonded projects, and the remainder is for work postponed at the abbreviated 2020 annual town meeting.

January Town Caucus May be Eliminated ~ Annual Town Meeting Date Set for May 15

Gov. Charlie Baker has proposed legislation that would allow Bedford to skip this year’s town caucus because of the pandemic.

The bill, which was filed Wednesday, authorizes the Select Board to make the determination.

The caucus is the annual nominating meeting for offices to be filled at the March town election. Traditionally it has been held on the second Tuesday of January. According to the town bylaws, it must take place “at least seven days before the date that nomination papers must be submitted for signature certification.”

Thinking Ahead ~ Caucus and Annual Town Meeting, 2021

No one knows how the Covid-19 pandemic will affect life in Bedford 20 weeks from now.

But just in case social-distancing and other considerations are still warranted, Town Manager Sarah Stanton said during the November 9 Select Board meeting that the town Covid-19 Task Force is recommending that annual town meeting be delayed from Monday, March 22 to Saturday, May 15.

She said the board didn’t have to act immediately on voting the delay, but perhaps it could be considered on their November 23 agenda, so other boards and committees could plan their timetables.

Looking Ahead to Bedford’s Annual Citizens’ Caucus and Town Meeting, or Not

Town Manager Sarah Stanton told the Finance Committee last week that her office is beginning to consider the wisdom of canceling the annual citizens’ caucus and postponing annual town meeting by about two months so it can take place outside.

“It’s still very early, and the Select Board and the moderator haven’t weighed in,” she stressed.

The town charter directs that town meeting begin on the third Monday in March, which “would be tough to hold indoors,” Stanton said. “The Select Board and I haven’t talked about it, but in working with the health director the informal idea is to have it potentially in May.”