BEDFORD — The Town Council began its 2014 session by welcoming its newest member, making board assignments and approving its code of conduct and rules of procedure.
Chris Bandazian was unanimously reelected council chairman, and his first decision was naming Bill Jean to again serve as vice chairman. The board welcomed Councilor Jim Aguiar, who won his seat over challengers David Coles and Free Stater Matt Philips.
"I'm looking forward again to another productive year of working together to do the town's work," Bandazian said.
He noted that the town's recycling efforts are improving. In January, recycling increased to 16.6 percent, a point and a half more than 2013; and increased to 16.8 percent in February.
"Recycling statistics continue to impress," said Bandazian. "Mac (Councilor McMahan) and I were charged with increasing recycling last year, and we raised the red flag at the end of the year. If it's a desire of the people to make a mockery of us, keep up the good work. It's a great trend. We certainly have a long way to go to hit the national or even the state average but that amounts to real money."
During the council's review of its code of conduct, media policy and rules of procedure, the council approved Bandazian's proposal to include an amendment regarding the council's authority to expend money from its land conservation reserve fund. He said a warrant article was passed at the 2004 Budgetary Town Meeting granting authority to the council to spend money from the reserve as long as the vote is by a supermajority.
The Town Council will hold a retreat at 6 p.m. April 14 and 16, at the Centrix Bank conference room, 1 Atwood Lane. The meetings are open to the public and will be facilitated by former councilor Ken Peterson. The council will discuss its goals and designate councilors' responsibilities.
Town Manager Steve Daly, who began his job March 5, said the Merrimack Valley Regional Water District will refund $20,000 to Bedford, which is 50 percent of its contribution toward the district's acquisition of Pennichuck Water.
"As I understand it, they have attained full ownership of the water company, and as a result they are divesting the towns from any role of ownership," said Daly.
Each year, councilors are assigned to serve as regular and alternate members on various town boards and committees, in addition to the regular duties.
The assignments include Jim Aguiar, school board liaison and alternate member on the Highway Safety Committee and the BCTV board of directors; Chris Bandazian, Planning Board, BCTV board, school board liaison, Energy Commission and an alternate member on the Merrimack Valley Regional Water District; Kelleigh Domaingue, alternate member on the Zoning Board of Adjustment, Parks and Recreation Commission and the Energy Commission; Bill Jean, Highway Safety Committee, the Water and Sewer Advisory Committee and the Zoning Board of Adjustment; Normand Longval, Parks and Recreation Commission, Conservation Commission and alternate on the Historic District Commission; and Mac McMahan, Conservation Commission, Historic District Commission, the Bedford Village Common Committee and as an alternate on the Water and Sewer Advisory Committee.