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Town Meeting Approves CPA Requests, Bus Fee Subisdy (PHOTOS)

A quick rundown of articles taken up during last night’s fifth session of annual Town Meeting at Cary Hall.

The fifth night of Lexington’s annual Town Meeting on Monday approved a number of Community Preservation Committee requests and agreed to a school bus transportation subsidy to lower bus fees.

Beyond a prop-filled report on Revolutionary Revelry in the month of May from the Tourism Committee, only two articles saw action on the Town Meeting floor April 9, but there were a number of items for consideration under Article 8, the CPA projects.

Following the meeting, Massachusetts Avenue was shut down west of the intersection with Waltham Street in Lexington Center due to a manhole explosion, according to the police officer diverting traffic down Waltham.

Here's a quick rundown of articles taken up during last night’s fifth session of annual Town Meeting at .

Article 8: Appropriate the Fiscal 2013 Community Preservation Committee Operating Budget and CPA Projects

What it asked: For the appropriation of Community Preservation Act Funds for projects recommended by the Community Preservation Committee and for administrative costs.

What happened: A request for funding for Cary Memorial Building upgrades was amended down to $75,000, and the request for a LexHAB set aside was pulled from the list and taken up after the other items had been discussed and approved.

What that means:
D.) $75,000 for Cary Memorial Building upgrades. This appropriation was amended down from the original request of $550,000 and will be used to enhance design and understanding of recommendations for the building.
E.) $605,718 for . This funding will complete the three-phase project to improve turf and drainage conditions.
F.) $143,845 for the Master Plan. Phase two will improve pathways and flow around the monuments that got the attention under the plan’s first phase.
G.) $450,000 set aside. These funds will be used for the purchase of a property for affordable housing. This article was voted separately and after the others, which were taken together, and there was some back-and-forth about the approach of spending $450,000 for a single unit of affordable housing.
H.) $65,000 for historic structures report/restoration plans.
I.) $77,268 for Historical Society – historic records preservation.
J.) $810,673 Greeley Village Accessible Housing Project. The creation of four accessible units will bring this Lexington Housing Authority community closer to complying with the state regulation for handicapped accessibility in the village.
K.) $930,000 s debt service
L.) $1 million Cotton Farm debt service
M.) $150,000 administrative budget

Article 17:  School Bus Transportation Subsidy

What it asked: To appropriate $316,250 for the operation of the school bus transportation system.

What happened: Approved after a bit of debate. Supporters spoke about how lowering bus fees has safety and environmental benefits, and doing it in this way is an example of working collaboratively to address an issue. Many opponents—and, in fact, even some who support the town subsidizing bus fees—said this expense really should be the responsibility of the schools.

What that means: The town will kick in $316,250 to help lower the “prohibitive”  $550 per student school bus fees to $300 in an effort to increase ridership and improve safety by reducing the number of cars and traffic around the schools during drop-off and pickup times. Proponents believe this is a step toward increasing bus ridership and improving school transportation conditions.


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