Tax group's vote on Bedford road bond irks some residents
"The Bedford Taxpayers Association doesn't represent me," he said. "How many years must we wait to have our roads repaired? If we don't start this multi-year project when will we? I believe in holding the line on taxes, but our roads are literally crumbling underneath us."
"I don't think the Bedford Taxpayers Association wants that, and I wish they would look at this road bond as a critical investment that must be made," said Tranchemontagne. "I invite the Bedford Taxpayers Association to drive down Old Farm Road and the other roads on the list and see the conditions for themselves."
"At some point civic pride has to enter the picture," Little said.
Poisoning the well
Three town councilors — Chairman Chris Bandazian, Normand Longval and Bill Dermody — recently met with members of the Bedford Taxpayers Association board to discuss the road bond. They were given the impression that the group would support the bond. However, in a vote of eight BTA board members, six voted not to support it, Dermody said.
"The BTA has arbitrarily taken it upon themselves to decide for the town of Bedford because their green sheet is faithfully used by people to mark their ballot," said Dermody. "I told them, I think the three councilors that were there felt they have been kicked in the butt by four members of the BTA. And I think those 2,000 houses have been betrayed. Those six people who are not elected by anybody took it upon themselves, and I expect they didn't consult with other members of the BTA. Six people simultaneously poison the well."
Roy Stewart, who co-founded the BTA in 1989 and has served as president for most of that time, said councilors were right in thinking the organization would support the road bond.
If approved, the bond would authorize the town to issue three, 15-year bonds of $10 million each in 2015, 2017 and 2019, with construction beginning in 2015 and ending in 2020-21. The loan will be staggered because the Public Works Department can't handle more than $5 million of road work in one year. The plan is to do $5 million of road work a year, and design a two-year plan for the next phase.
The long-range plan is to establish a road maintenance program, by adding $200,000 per year to the Public Works Department's road budget to reach $2 million per year, Public Works Director Jim Stanford said. The $1 million annual maintenance budget has not increased since 2003.
Voting on the road bond, the $3.8 million fire substation bond and election of school and town candidates takes place from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 11, at Bedford High School.