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Town Manager Tuesdays: On Budgets, Buses and a New VSO

Lexington Town Manager Carl Valente provides an update on fiscal 2013 budgets and the now-underway search for a new, full-time veterans services officer.

For the past two months, I have been working closely with staff on preparing our fiscal year 2013 budget. One part of the budget that requires us to use our crystal ball is the amount we should budget for snow removal.

Last year, we had 80 inches of snow in Lexington and exceeded our budget by almost $600,000, spending approximately $1.7 million. This year, except for the freakish October storm, there has been no snow, so far. It is the little things like this that make a Town Manager happy!

1.) :  With the news this past week about the MBTA considering an increase in fares, it is a good time to remind residents about Lexington’s transportation system, Lexpress. Lexpress has been operating for 31 years and continues to add riders each year. It is particularly popular in the early morning with students. This coming July, the town will be contracting with a new vendor for the Lexpress service. With the new vendor will come new buses with a slightly greater number of seats and each bus will have a handicapped accessible lift.  More information about Lexpress can be found on the town’s website.

2.) Veterans’ Services Officer – The Town is recruiting for a full-time Veterans’ Services Officers (VSO). The VSO provides State and Federal benefits for eligible Veterans and their families. We are looking for candidates with a college degree preferred and two years of increasingly responsible human services experience.  State law requires that the VSO be a veteran of the United States armed services. If you know of anyone who may be a good fit for this job please pass on to them this information.  More information and an on-line application can be found at on the town website.

3.) FY13 Budget – On Monday night at the Selectmen’s meeting I presented the Town’s Preliminary FY13 Budget. Town finance staff and department managers have been working almost none-stop the past few weeks to pull together this budget. Lexington’s operating budget is approximately $161 million and a capital budget of $15 million, which may surprise residents who think they are living in just a ‘small town’. The budget is chock full of information about Town services and programs. Lexington educates 6,300 students, manages 126 miles of roadways, 600 acres of recreational land, provides public safety and senior services to 32,000 residents, provides recreational programs to 130,000 participants annually and so much more.  The budget will be further refined over the coming two months before it goes to Town Meeting for consideration. This preliminary budget is on the town’s website. Your comments and observations are always appreciated.

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