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Welcome back

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On Monday, the city of Bedford will be forever gone.
    Welcome back, The Best Little Town in America.
    After years of talks, negotiations, hearings and planning, reversion is set to take place.
    On July 1, it becomes official, Bedford will once again be a town.
    It’s an important accomplishment for the soon-to-be dissolved city council. And for the city staff who helped make it happen.
    And for the board of supervisors and county staff that worked with their city counterparts in crafting a workable plan.
    The reversion process could have been much more acrimonious. Though it’s certain the county didn’t have a lot of choice, its decision to work with the Bedford leaders made a huge difference.
    There are points of contention, to be sure. But all in all, the process should turn out for the best for both governments, and for their residents.
    While geography told us we were all connected before, now it’s official.
    In 95 percent of our comings and goings, the change of Bedford from a city to a town should go unnoticed. Most services will go on as usual.
    There will be changes, of course, beyond just a new patch for the Bedford Police Department's uniforms or new artwork for the side of town of Bedford vehicles.
    Much has been made already of changes to the rec department, with the city turning over that responsibility to the county in the near future.
    Bedford residents will now have a voice on both the school board and board of supervisors, now that they have been incorporated either into District 6 or District 7. There will be a new water authority and now the county will have complete control of all the schools. As a result, the county will also receive more funding for the school system over the next 15 years.
    A new middle school will be built; new water lines will be put in place.
    Unfortunately the change means some employees lose their jobs. Bedford’s constitutional offices will now be handled by the county; employees in maintenance, recreation and other departments have also been affected.
    There are unknowns, as well. Just how the town of Bedford’s budget for this fiscal year plays out will be a learning experience. Adjustments will be made, without a doubt, in a number of areas.
    But that’s to be expected.
    All in all, reversion should prove to be good for both the county and the town.
    We’re one now; and that’s how it should be.