Bedford’s finances, which so dominated town officials’ attention in 2010, remained a preoccupation Tuesday, with even nickel-and-dime contract renewals getting the scrutiny once reserved for megadollar expenditures.
In the end, virtually all of the contracts—routine renewals of such services as computer maintenance, animal control and visiting nurses—were approved. But the town board had served clear notice that at least for the foreseeable future business will be anything but usual. Indeed, even assents came amid grumbling that some service providers do not fully grasp the severity of Bedford’s fiscal squeeze and could find their contracts being “shopped around,” as Deputy Mayor Peter Chryssos put it—more than once.
Everyone doing business with the town had been asked to “do better” in their 2011 rates, much as town departments were required cut back this year’s funding requests. Disappointed in some of what they found, town board members took turns examining both the rates vendors charge and the services they provide.
As an Age of Austerity took firmer root in town hall, the board Tuesday also:
- Cut a nickel from the money paid for each mile driven on town business in personal automobiles, citing IRS calculations to drop reimbursement from 55 cents to 50 cents.
- Increased, but modestly, most fees for groups using town park facilities and set fees for renting space in the Bedford Hills Community House, including $420 for six hours’ use of the main auditorium, $55 for the room below the auditorium and $35 for the board room or lounge.