Committee Begins Review of Bedford Fiscal 2025 Capital Projects

October 5, 2023

The Bedford Capital Expenditure Committee last week began its review of fiscal 2025 proposals from schools and town departments.

Assistant Town Manager Amy Fidalgo enumerated major components estimated to cost more than $12,775,000, most of them earmarked for Department of Public Works projects.

She noted that there will be a separate proposal for a new fire station once that cost projection is calculated.

Capital Expenditure comprises six members plus liaisons from the Select Board and Finance and School committees. There are two at-large vacancies, and interested citizens should contact the Volunteer Coordinating Committee or the town manager’s office. The window of the group’s role is about four months, and all but the project ranking meeting will be virtual.

Fidalgo reviewed major fiscal 2025 projects as presented in the town’s six-year capital plan:

  • A connection at the Burlington line with the Metropolitan Water Resources Authority distribution system designed to improve quality and pressure in the town’s eastern sector. The two-year funding is divided between $2.2 million next year and $2 million in fiscal year 2026. “This project is a key factor in the continuing expansion of life-sciences facilities on the Middlesex Turnpike corridor,” Fidalgo said. 
  • Replacement of the synthetic turf surface at Bedford High School’s Sabourin Field, budgeted at $1.13 million. Fidalgo reported that in August the field was evaluated and was graded “D.” She said it has reached the end of its “useful life.”  

Fidalgo told the committee that, in response to some questions, staff is calculating the cost of replacing the turf field with natural grass. Committee Chair David McClung pointed out that original projections that user fees would pay for turf replacement will not be realized. The companion $731,000 track replacement is targeted for financing by community preservation money. State law prohibits using this source of funds for synthetic turf surface.

  • Culvert and drainage improvements, in response to storms of growing intensity. Fidalgo said there are increasing reports of flooding in residential neighborhoods. New development triggers additional flooding, she said. “The DPW feels very strongly about tackling some of those challenges.” The share for next year is $950,000; the six-year total estimate is $5.8 million.
  • Middlesex Turnpike water main improvements, “necessary with all the development going on there.” The fiscal 2025 share is $1.7 million; total estimated cost over the next six years is almost $8 million.
  • School security will be “a big ask this year,” Fidalgo said. The fiscal 2025 line is $925,000, and that number is matched for the following year. The School Committee is expected to approve a policy for placing camera equipment in the schools. 
  • The firefighting apparatus designated Engine 3 at a replacement cost of $934,500. “There’s a two-year wait period for delivery so it is very important to secure it now,” Fidalgo said. “We are timing it appropriately.”

There are no major proposals from the Facilities Department, Fidalgo said. “We pushed out some projects, and the facilities director feels strongly we can do some minimum investments.”

Also on the fiscal 2025 agenda are replacement of Police Department radios ($175,000) and annual information technology equipment for the schools ($569,650) and municipal departments ($265,803).

Department heads will be presenting detail on these proposals at upcoming Capital Expenditure Committee meetings, Fidalgo said.

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