Bandazian named council chairman
Chris Bandazian, voted chairman of the Town Council on March 18, said the proposed widening of Route 101 and the fiscal challenges posed by the loss of state funding for the retirement system will be two of the more significant issues facing the council in the months ahead.
Bandazian, first elected to the council in 2008, is an attorney whose practice is located in Manchester, Nashua and Portsmouth. He previously served on the Town Council as an appointed member in 2004.
Although the widening of Route 101 is a project being directed by the state Department of Transportation, it also a project that will have a substantial impact on the town’s traffic flow. The bulk of the widening will take place between Constitution Drive and Wallace Road, Bandazian said, where it’s expected there will be two lanes of traffic going both east and west. The DOT was scheduled to unveil its plans for the widening at a public hearing in Bedford on Wednesday, March 20.
“Infrastructure in general will be (a) big” issue for the Town Council, said Bandazian, citing a $7 million bond issue that will be used to make road improvements and to build a Fire Department substation somewhere on South River Road, most likely south of I-293.
The state’s decision to discontinue contributions to the retirement system means Bedford will take an approximately $1 million hit come July 1, the start of the new fiscal year, Bandazian said. Two-thirds of that will come from the school district’s budget, he pointed out.
Holding the line on municipal spending has been an accomplishment for the council, said Bandazian. “Our discretionary spending didn’t go up at all,” he said. Contractual obligations, the first principle payment on the bond – which translates to a 20-cent increase on the tax rate – account for the increase in municipal spending this year, Bandazian said. “The good news is that we’re also retiring a bond this year.”