Seven Town Meeting Warrant Articles Are Not about Fire Station, Bikeway

November 11, 2022

Proposals to build a fire station and extend the Minuteman Bikeway were headliners at the Annual Town Meeting more than seven months ago, and they return to the main stage at Special Town Meeting next Monday.

There are seven other articles on the warrant, and they’re also important to various constituencies or the town as a whole.

Articles 4 and 5 were sponsored by petitioners; they propose halting the ongoing fire station project and reigniting the site search process. Article 10 is a replica of a proposal from the Annual Town Meeting authorizing the Select Board to acquire easements required to allow construction of the bikeway, replacing the Reformatory Branch trail. Since eminent domain is one of the options, passage requires a two-thirds minimum.

The first article on the warrant is the standard list of debate rules and time limits – including provisions for waivers.

Article 2 reaffirms the annual 3 percent surcharge on real estate taxes to sustain the community preservation fund for next fiscal year. This has been a Special Town Meeting staple for more than two decades.   

Article 3 is a supplemental community preservation allocation, listed in the warrant for $164,595. Most of the amount ($150,000) will finance installation of lighting the tennis courts near John Glenn Middle School. Plans are to convert the surface striping to accommodate pickleball as the primary use.

Most community preservation proposals are on the Annual Town Meeting warrant.

Articles 6 and 7 are allocations from a reserve account to cover retroactive pay increases for two collective bargaining agreements. The town and unions of the firefighters and Department of Public Works employees have signed separate contracts, effective last July 1. 

Article 8 amends the fiscal 2023 vocational education budget by $33,143 to cover one student’s tuition at Minuteman Technical High School in Lexington. Bedford students attend Minuteman only when they want to specialize in a program that is not available at Shawsheen Valley Technical High.

Article 9, if passed, will authorize the Select Board to seek approval from the Legislature allowing the town to post required public notices online or on a physical bulletin board. The law now requires publication of so-called “legal notices” in printed newspapers of general community circulation. There are none of those in Bedford. Notices are now advertised in a regional daily at a cost significantly more than charged by a former weekly newspaper.

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