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Town Manager Tuesdays: Budgets, Bikes and Snow

In his weekly report on Patch, Lexington Town Manager Carl shares information about the fiscal 2013 budget, updates on GIC rates and what that town truck is really spraying on the streets before storms.

 

Low Property Tax Deferral Interest Rate – The Town permits senior citizens with a gross income of $60,000 or less to defer paying all or a portion of their real estate or water/sewer bills. A modest interest rate is added to the deferred portion of the bill, which must be paid at the time the property is sold.  Each March the Town establishes the interest rate for the coming year for those seniors who choose to participate in this program.  The interest rate for FY13 will be .17 percent, simple interest. If you would like more information about this important program please contact our Assessing Department or Human Services Department.

Fiscal 2013 Recommended Budget The Selectmen’s FY2013 Recommended Budget and Financing Plan is now on the Town’s website at http://www.lexingtonma.gov/budget.cfm. This is the budget that will be considered by annual Town Meeting that begins on March 26. 

Health Insurance – The cost of health insurance is on everyone’s mind these days, including the town's, which provides health insurance to its employees and retirees. The town and its employee unions have been working hard to develop changes in its health insurance program to one that is more financially sustainable. Beginning in July, . For a variety of reasons, this program has lower rates than the Town has been able to offer. The GIC just announced its rates for FY13. The increase in rates will be between 1 and 4 percent, much lower than the 6 to 8 percent the town had been experiencing. Each 1 percent in savings reduces the town’s budget by approximately $240,000.

Minuteman Bikeway Update – For all of you users of the , here is the latest repair update: The bikeway between driveway and Maple Street is re-opened. However there are gravel sections, so please use with caution. Beginning Monday, March 5 until further notice the section between Camellia Place and Bedford Street will be closed from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Bedford Street should be used as a detour. Detour signs are posted.

Snow – I don’t like to jinx everyone by talking about snow, given this mild winter, but I am frequently asked about the vehicle that appears to ‘water’ the streets prior to a snow storm. This is a new process that our DPW began late last winter. The liquid being sprayed on the street is a brine mixture, which is road salt and water. It is sprayed the streets and allowed to dry, usually a day in advance of predicted snow. This leaves a very fine layer of salt on the street. When it begins to snow this salt layer immediately turns the snow to wet pavement. This saves the town money, since it is a much more efficient way to put down salt on the roadway. It is good for the environment since we use less salt this way. It also makes it much safer for drivers since the Town roads can be treated in advance of the storm and you do not have to wait for the sander trucks to make their way through town, which can take a great deal of time, particularly at rush hour.

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