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Town Meeting OKs White House Stabilization, Other Capital Projects

A quick recap of articles and actions taken up during the sixth session of Lexington's annual Town Meeting, held Wednesday, April 11 at Cary Hall.

Capital projects and plans were the main business April 11 as Town Meeting appropriated funds to stabilize a portion of the White House and to improve streets and sidewalks around Estabrook School.

Here's a quick recap of those and other actions during Wednesday night's sixth session of Lexington's annual Town Meeting at .

Article 12 – Appropriate for Municipal Capital Projects and Equipment What it asked: To fund a number of capital projects, including

  • Public safety radio connectivity -- $50,000
  • Hydrant replacement program -- $50,000
  • Street improvements and easements -- $1,956,193
  • Townwide culvert replacement -- $390,000
  • DPW equipment replacement -- $595,000
  • Comprehensive watershed stormwater management system -- $165,000
  • Dam repair -- $260,000
  • Storm drainage improvements and NPDES compliance -- $340,000
  • Area Master Plan (phase 1) -- $60,000
  • Townwide signalization improvements -- $125,000
  • Sidewalk improvements and easements -- $300,000
  • Concord Avenue sidewalk engineering and easements -- $250,000
  • Street betterment improvements and easements – N/A
  • – offsite street engineering, improvements and easements -- $170,000
  • engineering -- $240,000
  • Telephone system replacements townwide -- $591,000
  • Townwide electronic document management system  -- $145,000

What happened:  The Estabrook off-site sidewalk and street improvements was pulled out as Town Moderator Deborah Brown recused herself from that item. All appropriations were eventually approved, after a few commenters lamented the town’s propensity to plan and a Grove Street resident said the neighborhood would not like to see any kind of traffic light at the entrance of Estabrook School.
What that means:  The projects and plans will move forward.

Article 5 – Appropriate fiscal 2013 Enterprise Funds Budgets
What it asked: For funding for the Water and Wastewater Divisions and the Recreation Department. The Water Enterprise Fund is $7,780,086, Wastewater is $8,370,161 and the Recreation is $1,794,228
What happened: Town Meeting approved the Recreation request, but will wait on the other two as the Board of Selectmen have yet to formulate a position on them.
What that means: The Water and Wastewater divisions will await a decision about their enterprise funds for fiscal 2013 until at least Monday, April 23.

Article 6 – Appropriate for Senior Service Program
What it asked: For $45,000 for conducting a Senior Service Program, which allows low-income seniors and disabled residents to reduce their property tax bills
What happened:  Town Meeting approved $20,000 for the program to supplement the current balance.
What that means: The tax work-off program, in which an average of 32 seniors participate, will be able to continue.

Article 7 – Establish and Continue Departmental Revolving Funds
What it asked:  For reauthorization of existing revolving fund accounts, including

  • Building rental -- $375,000
  • DPW burial containers – $35,000
  • DPW compost operations – $499,000
  • PEG access -- $450,000
  • Trees -- $20,000
  • Minuteman household hazardous waste program -- $175
  • Health programs -- $10,000
  • Council on Aging programs -- $100,000
  • Tourism/the -- $285,000
  • School bus transportation -- $830,000
  • Regional Cache – Hartwell Avenue -- $20,000

What happened: Approved
What that means:  The funds will continue to operate

Article 11 – Appropriate for Recreation Capital Projects
What it asked: For $291,000 for Recreation capital improvement projects, including Pine Meadows equipment, hard court resurfacing at parks, park and playground improvements and athletic fields.
What happened: Approved, after a petitioner moved to amend the motion to include “drainage” in a $60,000 appropriation for irrigation of athletic fields and subsequently withdrew his motion after learning the fields already have drainage systems in place.
What that means:  Improvements can move forward as planned.

Article 13 – Appropriate for Water System Improvements
What it asked: For $900,000 for water distribution system improvements
What happened: Approved
What that means: Installation of new water mains, cleaning or replacing existing mains and standpipes

Article 14 – Appropriate for Wastewater System Improvements
What it asked: For $1,340,500 for wastewater system improvements, studies and purchase of equipment
What happened:  Approved
What that means:  Can move forward with things like installing sanitary sewer mains and sewerage systems, replacements, engineering studies. 

Article 15 – Appropriate for School Capital Projects and Equipment
What it asked: For $1,085,000 to purchase additional equipment for schools
What happened: Approved
What that means: The town can move forward with maintaining and upgrading technology systems and evaluating classrooms for modifications to meet programmatic needs.

Article 16 – Appropriate for Public Facilities Capital Projects
What it asked: For $2,200,711 for public facilities improvements including:

  • School building envelope and systems -- $215,000
  • Middle schools science labs and performance art spaces (evaluation) -- $35,000
  • energy improvements -- $25,000
  • Municipal building envelope and systems -- $169,711
  • -- $381,000
  • Extraordinary school repair projects -- $610,000
  • Department of Public Facilities bid documents -- $75,000
  • natural gas conversion -- $45,000
  • Townwide facility master plan -- $65,000
  • Grounds vehicle replacement -- $80,000
  • overcrowding phase 2 renovations -- $400,000
  • School paving program -- $100,000

What happened: The White House item was separated and approved after the Capital Expenditures Committee moved to amend the Board of Selectmen’s motion for indefinite postponement. A recurring comment among supporters for White House stabilization was that the residential core of the house should be stabilized regardless of future uses for the building and property. All of the items were approved.
What that means: Projects and plans can move forward, the White House might start looking better in time for .

mara bohn April 12, 2012 at 12:42 PM
Why are we putting almost half a million dollars into the White House. It is a mess and regardless of what the Historic Commission says it should be knocked down . The town countinues to spend money like it grows on trees for projects like this. If this building had been cared for the past hundred years we wouldn't have to deal with this again. Let's get real ! We have to move into the 21 century and cut our loses.
Patrick Ball April 12, 2012 at 02:14 PM
Hey guys, Sorry about the funky formatting when this story was originally posted to the site. That should be fixed now. -patrick
Dennis O'Donnell April 13, 2012 at 01:27 PM
I kind of feel the same way you do Mara, but when I moved here four years ago, I knew what I was getting into. While I cringe at my tax bill, I also walk with great pride through our terrific town, knowing that the citizens care about making it a world-class place to live for themselves and their neighbors.

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