Town Manager's Tuesday
Saving money, hidden gems and a more vibrant Center.
Recently, the Lexington League of Women Voters asked me about having Town department heads speak at one of their upcoming First Friday forum's about what's it's like to manage a town like Lexington. This week's report gives you a sense of the broad variety of activities that goes on in our Town government.
Free Medical Waste Collection: The Lexington Health Department is sponsoring a medical waste collection event whereby residents may drop off household medical waste items such as syringes, sharps, and expired/unwanted medicines. It will take place on Saturday Oct. 29 from 9 a.m. to noon in the parking lot behind Town Office Building, 1625 Mass. Ave. Two additional events are scheduled for the spring.
Natural Gas – Lexington is a large consumer of natural gas, which is used to heat nearly 1,250,000 square feet of our 20 school and municipal facilities. Staff has been working with the town’s consultant to determine when to bid a new natural gas contract, as our current contract expires in October 2012. Based on some trends in natural gas prices, we believed that this fall would be a good time to bid and last week we accepted a three-year contract, beginning in October 2012 (fiscal 2013) that will reduce our costs by approximately $288,000 per year for each of the three years of the new contract.
Where’s Waldo? – If you have been in the Town Offices recently, you know that we have been renovating the building to address code and handicapped accessibility issues. Just about every office has had to temporarily move during these renovations. Well, the work is coming to an end. This past week, the Treasurer, Liberty Ride and Lexpress have moved into their new office spaces. The final piece of the renovations involves the Community Development Offices, which are temporarily located in the Cary Memorial Building. Their renovated space on the ground floor of the Town Office Building should be completed in about eight weeks.
Rotary Club – This past week I had the opportunity to speak at the Rotary Club’s weekly lunch. It has been more than three years since I have spoken to this group, so there was a lot to bring them up-to-date on. This is a terrific organization of business and professional men and women that undertakes many community projects quietly and behind the scenes. As a "Thank You" for speaking to the Club, they made a donation that will be used to vaccinate 30 children against the Polio virus. Wow!
Minuteman High School – Lexington has a well regarded school system, but parents may not be aware of another gem of a school system in our town. It’s the Minuteman High School, located off of Marrett Road and serving Lexington and 15 other communities in the region. Last week, I had the opportunity to attend the Minuteman School Committee meeting to learn about their plans to undertake a major renovation of the school. Minuteman offers a number of career majors in addition to its strong academic program. More recently, it has become rather well known for it career training in bio-science and engineering.
Center Streetscape – Last Thursday evening, the Planning and Public Works Departments sponsored a public meeting regarding the Center Streetscape Master Plan project. The purpose of this project is to develop a master plan that will guide future street and sidewalk improvements in the Center. Approximately 30 attendees gave their comments and suggestions regarding sidewalk materials and street furniture such as benches, trees, lights and trash receptacles. We would love to hear you comments about the Center. They can be sent to Planning Director Maryann McCall-Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org