Boards to Digest Fire Station Costs at Joint Meeting on April 29

Image Kaestle Boos Associates rendering of a possible fire station design from bedfordma.gov

The projected price tag on a new fire station and whether that cost should be absorbed under the annual tax levy limit are expected to emerge from a summit meeting on Monday, April 29 when the Bedford Select Board will host the Finance, Capital Expenditure, and Fire Station Building committees and the town moderator. 

The officials are likely to review the architect’s cost estimates that have been under preparation for several weeks.

Town Manager Matt Hanson told the Select Board Monday that the annual payment on a 25- to 30-year bond would be about $3 million if the cost is in the range of $25 million to $30 million.

Voters will decide the proposed bond at a Special Town Meeting expected to be scheduled on Monday or Tuesday, June 10 or 11. The date will also be finalized on April 29.

Another topic will be the long-term impact on the operating budget, and whether the debt should be excluded from the taxation limits of the state law called Proposition 2½. That law allows a vote to separate specific project payments from the calculated ceiling.

A debt exclusion requires approval not only by Town Meeting, but also on a townwide ballot within the ensuing 90 days. Hanson also noted that a debt exclusion can be sought after completion, since initial bonding would be through short-term notes.

Hanson said the Building Committee wants to expedite the approval process to avert continuing increases in the cost of construction. It was originally hoped to have the proposal on the March Annual Town Meeting warrant, but an initial denial by the Historic District Commission resulted in some design changes that delayed the cost estimating.Officials also want to schedule the vote before the end of the school year. The original date mentioned was June 10, but board member Dan Brosgol will not be available that night so the 11th is also under consideration.

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