BEDFORD — Voters approved raises for teachers, but failed to support the school district’s proposed operating budget on Tuesday.
In a narrow vote, the $75 million operating budget was rejected with 1,747 in support and 1,800 in opposition. As a result, the default budget of $73.7 million must now be utilized by the district.
Voters also failed to approve a proposed $3 million bond for energy-related improvements throughout the district with 1,712 voters in support and 1,846 opposed.
In an effort to save money on rising electricity and fuel costs, the $3 million bond was being recommended. All of the projects included in the bond — LED lighting, fuel switches, pipe insulation, numerous building controls, kitchen upgrades and heating and ventilation updates — were expected to have a complete return on their investment within 10 years, Jay Nash, school board chairman, said earlier.
On the school ballot, John Schneller secured a seat on the school board with 1,481 votes compared to Kamee Leshner, 965, and John Trent, 873.
On the town ballot, Denise Ricciardi and David Gilbert easily won seats on the Town Council with 2,537 votes and 1,799 votes, respectively; their opponents were Bryan Lord, with 399, and William Carter, with 507.
Several zoning amendments that were proposed by citizen petitions were approved, including the elimination of workforce housing as a permitted use in the commercial district and office district, but adding workforce housing as a permitted use in the performance zone.
A separate amendment that will limit buildings in the commercial zone to two floors, with no more than 25,000 square feet per floor is under protest.
Residents rejected a proposal from a local developer and others that would have rezoned select portions of land from residential and agricultural to commercial, as well as removing the properties from the historic district.
Also at the polls, voters turned down a recommendation to spend nearly $4 million to improve fields and other parks and recreation facilities throughout the town with a vote of 1,415 in support and 2,140 in opposition.
In addition to the nearly $4 million bond that was being considered to expand and improve the ball fields in town, a proposal to implement new user fees was also being explored.
“A number of fields have been neglected for some time,” Town Councilor Kelleigh Murphy said earlier, adding the funds collected from the recommended user fees would have provided a consistent stream of revenue that could have been used to continue improving the fields in the long-term.