Next Year’s Capital Budget Close to $12.8 Million

The Bedford Capital Expenditure Committee is proposing $12,775,289 in town and school projects for fiscal year 2025. 

The total ascends to $16,414,39 when including seven projects for about $1.5 million that qualify for community preservation money, and around $2.1 million for road resurfacing carried in the operating budget. Higher-priced items will be financed through the sale of bonds. 

Select Board members on Monday had some questions during the committee’s presentation, but did not register objections to any of the capital items. They deferred a vote until a date closer to the closing of the Annual Town Meeting warrant in February.

During the summer, department heads began fine-tuning priorities and the finance director calculated budgetary capacity, explained Assistant Town Manager Amy Fidalgo. When the committee began meeting, she said, members were looking at projects that had been vetted over four months, and most of them are entries in the town’s six-year capital plan.

Capital Expenditure Committee Chair David McClung said that although members personally prioritized line items, everything presented on the original list from the town manager’s office made the cut.

Almost $5.5 million is earmarked for a variety of water and sewer improvements, many in the Middlesex Turnpike corridor. The largest relates to a planned connection to the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority supply near the Bedford-Burlington line. 

According to the committee’s report, the $2.2 million is the first of two annual payments to Burlington “to fund a portion of the overall cost to supply water to Bedford.” The report says the new connection will improve water quality and pressure in the town.

The capital article also features $1.7 million for water main improvements on Middlesex Turnpike as well as replacements on Dudley Road, Hayden Lane, and Sweetwater Avenue.

A $1.55 million allocation for continuing rehabilitation of neighborhood sewer pump stations will cover facilities near Davis Road and Evans Avenue, and, if funds permit, completion and construction of the main pumping station’s generator at 299 The Great Road.

The fiscal 2025 agenda also features the replacement of the synthetic turf at Bedford High School’s Sabourin Field. The $1.13 project would be integrated with a $731,000 replacement of the track on the field’s circumference, covered by the community preservation account. State law prohibits community preservation funding of synthetic turf purchase and installation.

Also proposed are projects between $900,000 and $1 million:

  • $950,000 for culvert and drainage repairs. “The town is seeing a high failure rate of corrugated metal drain pipe that was installed in post-war subdivisions,” the committee report explains. “At the same time, changing weather patterns are creating the potential for more intense storms.” The fiscal 2025 focus will be on drainage from the swamp on the north side of Concord Road into the Woodmoor Acres area. Similar allocations are projected throughout the six-year plan.
  • $934,500 to replace a fire engine that was purchased in 2007. McClung told the board that one-and-a-half to two years will be needed between ordering the apparatus and getting it operational
  • $925,000 for safety and security equipment for the Bedford schools, primarily interior cameras.

Also reviewed was an allocation of $569,650 for replacements and upgrades of technology equipment for students. McClung said this is a typical annual amount, noting that “the schools do a very nice job of keeping track of all their equipment.”

The capital plan proposes $495,000 to replace six vehicles in town departments, as well as two mowers and an air compressor. A separate item is a replacement backhoe with a price tag of $225,000.

Among the other projects are ongoing sidewalk and municipal hardscape improvements with plans to repair and expand the Springs Road sidewalk; and traffic calming measures for $150,000, focusing on Hemlock Lane.

A $350,000 study of ways to improve the Town Common is listed among the community preservation proposals, along with control of invasive plants on waterways and improvements to athletic fields and town trails.

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