Special Town Meeting Approves Major Building Systems Upgrades for Town Hall

By Bob Dorer

Bedford's Town Hall
Bedford’s Town Hall on Mudge Way

At the November 6 Special Town Meeting, citizens voted to approve Article 13 for $2,850,000 for systems replacement at the Town Hall Building The article passed by 83 to 23 votes, meeting the required 2/3 votes for a bond authorization.

All the major systems in the building are over 25 years old; most are past their useful lives, and many require hard to get or unavailable parts.  Major elements of the project include installing fire sprinklers throughout the building and an updated fire alarm system that can be monitored remotely by the fire department. The updated HVAC system with energy monitoring controls will be compatible with the town’s energy monitoring and control software in other town buildings. New energy efficient lighting, and updated controls for the elevator are included.

Chair of the Board of Selectmen, Margot Fleischman, moved the article spelling out the funding plan from several sources:

  • $71,612 from a previous town meeting approved expenditure in 2012,
  • $479,000 from available funds,
  • $946,000 from surplus revenue,
  • $291,000 from Community Preservation Funds,
  • $209,000 from Community Preservation General Reserves
  • $853,388 from the issuance of bonds.

Selectman Fleischman said the project would bring Town Hall’s systems and related elements up to current standards and would result in energy savings. Also included in the scope are heating, air conditioning, plumbing, fire detection and suppression systems, lighting, and the elevator.

She noted Town Hall served as a school from 1929 to 1977 and then was repurposed for town offices in 1988-1989.  In 2004 minor interior updates, such as rug replacements, painting and other cosmetic work was done.

The Finance and Capital Expenditure Committees and the Energy Task Force endorsed the purpose and need for the project and each recommended approval of the article.  One town meeting participant disagreed with the need for the project. He noted that the systems are still serviceable and in fact the town does not have the necessary building maintenance plan to properly manage systems such as those in Town Hall.   Another citizen asked why such a large spending project is not being presented at the Annual Town Meeting, citing the usual precedent.  Selectman Fleischman noted that the need to address the project now is related to the schedule of the project and the planned heating upgrade portions so those upgrades can be in place for the fall heating season; otherwise additional costs for alternate office space for town employees in Town Hall would be incurred for portions of the upgrade work.

See “Rejuvenating Town Hall – Capital Expenditures and Finance Committees Meet to Review Town Hall HVAC Upgrade Plans”  https://thebedfordcitizen.org/2014/10/01/rejuvenating-town-hall-capital-expenditure-fincom-meet-to-review-town-hall-hvac-upgrade-plan/

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