With the Columbus Day holiday on Monday, there was not a Board of Selectmen meeting, but there was still important news to share with the Selectmen and the community:
Dollar Here, A Dollar There – Assistant Town Manager Rob Addelson is working with the Town’s financial advisor to refinance some higher interest rate 20-year debt issued in 2003. We estimate that the refinancing will save taxpayers $1.8 million over the remaining 10 years of the debt service. Since the majority of this debt was voted to be exempt from Proposition 2 ½, this refinancing will make a small, but positive reduction in property taxes for our taxpayers.
State Aid Update – When the Legislature passed the fiscal 2102 budget, they included a provision that, should the state end fiscal 2011 with a surplus, some of the surplus will be shared with the cities and towns. Sen. Ken Donnelly’s office has informed us that Lexington is slated to receive an additional $93,726 in financial aid from the state. It will likely be distributed at the end of this month. Since Town Meeting has already voted a budget for this year, these additional funds will flow to the town’s reserve account, to be used in balancing next year’s budget.
CPA Distribution – As a community that has accepted the Community Preservation Act, each year the town receives funds from the state that partially matches the contribution from the 3 percent surcharge on property tax bills. Lexington will be receiving a FY12 CPA distribution of $885,463, a 27% matching contribution. Last year we received $858,729. In addition to these matching funds, the town collects approximately $3,206,000 annually from the CPA property tax surcharge.
Fire Department Update – Interim Fire Chief Keith Hoyle reports that on this coming Saturday, the Fire Department will hold an entrance examine for new firefighters/paramedics. There are 60 candidates signed up for the exam. Once there is a new list of successful applicants, we will be able to fill our two vacancies on the Department.
Fire Chief Recruitment – We have 18 applicants for the fire chief position. There are seven candidates who we will meet with for an initial screening interview. Those candidates we believe will be a good fit for Lexington will then go through a full day assessment center process. That will help us identify the top 2 to 3 candidates, which we will then move through a more traditional interview process, with representatives from the Board of Selectmen and other stakeholders.
Firearm Familiarization -- This week the Police Department is conducting its annual nighttime firearm familiarization training, which takes place at the police firing range on Hartwell Avenue. Selectmen Chairman Hank Manz and I had the good fortune to view and participate in some of the training exercises on Monday evening from 6:30 to 11 p.m. In short, I won’t be giving up my day job anytime soon. I considered myself lucky just to hit a target.
The use of a firearm by a police officer involves a number of complex and simultaneous decisions to insure the safety of the officer and the public. Lexington has outstanding firearm training instructors in Sgt. Timothy Barry and Officers Aiden Evelyn and Stephen Papia. Lexington is well served by such highly trained and professional police officers.