Debt Exclusion for New Police Station: What You Need to Know

The Town now has a dedicated web page on the Town’s website at so that residents can learn more about the project and make an informed decision on June 6. I invite residents with additional questions to contact me directly at or by calling my office at 781-698-4540.


By James J. Malloy
Town Manager

James Malloy,
Town Manager

On June 6, 2022 Lexington voters will be asked to vote on a debt exclusion for a new Police Station. As most residents are aware, the Town of Lexington has been planning for over a decade to replace the existing undersized police station with a new police station that would blend in with the Town Office Building and Cary Memorial Building.

Over the past three years, the Town’s efforts on the Police Station Project have ramped up. We have looked at a number of different options for the design, including whether the Police Station should remain in its current location move to a new location, whether to build a new structure or renovate and add to the existing building as well as what was the best option for the Hosmer House. Additionally, we put the project on hold for a year while we engaged the public through a series of community conversations and training programs aimed at having a dialogue with residents over concerns related to national incidents involving the police and how this has impacted Lexington residents. The conversations and training gave us the opportunity to gather more input from the community on what they wanted in a modern-day police department and police station and design accordingly.

Since last summer when the Select Board approved moving forward with the building design, and Town Meeting approved the final design appropriation at the Fall Town Meeting, the project has quickly moved forward. At a Special Town Meeting on March 28, 2022, Town Meeting approved an appropriation for the Police Station by a vote of 174 in favor; 1 opposed and 6 abstentions (99.4% in favor). That Town Meeting appropriation is for a debt issuance that is subject to a Proposition 2½ debt exclusion.

A Proposition 2½ debt exclusion differs from an override in that the debt exclusion is only for the amount of the annual debt service payment, and it reduces over time, eventually reaching zero when the debt is fully paid. An override is a permanent override of the Town’s Proposition 2½ tax limitation for a set dollar amount and remains in effect. To be clear, we are seeking a temporary debt exclusion and not a permanent override.

The total amount of the debt that will be excluded is $33.5 million, which is estimated to be repaid over a 20-year debt issuance with the first year of debt being in Fiscal Year 2025. If the debt exclusion is approved by voters on June 6, the Police Department will temporarily move to 173 Bedford Street and demolition and construction will begin later this year, with a new Police Station in place by late 2023/early 2024.

How do we know we need a new police station?

A rendering of the new Police Station –  COURTESY PHOTO

The best practice when determining the size of a building or facility is to go through what is referred to as a space needs analysis. This analysis looks at current and projected needs of a facility over a set period of time (usually a 30-40 year planning timeframe) and then designates a certain amount of square footage for all expected uses over that planning timeframe. Lexington went through a space needs analysis for the Police Department in 2011, which found that the Lexington Police Department needed approximately 30,000 square feet of space. The current Police Station is 13,060 square feet and was found to be inadequately sized for the department and community. This study was reviewed for accuracy in 2019, and with additional community input, the current project as designed is approximately 34,200 square feet.

What has been the timeframe for this project?

Planning for this project started around 2010 with the appropriation to undertake the space needs analysis in 2011. This project was strategically planned to follow higher priority/greater need projects, such as several school buildings and the Fire Station. In 2019, the Town reviewed alternate locations prior to making a final decision to have the Police Station remain at its current location. In 2020, in response to national incidents related to policing, the Select Board put the project on pause so that the Town could engage a consultant to provide both training for town staff and the community. Additionally, there was a series of community conversations with local affinity groups, led by Select Board members Doug Lucente and Joe Pato. In 2021 the Select Board approved having the architect move ahead with the final design, and in the Fall Town Meeting approved the appropriation for the final design funding. At the Special Town Meeting in 2022, the full construction cost was approved by Town Meeting, leading to the June 6 debt exclusion election.

How much will it cost?

The total amount of the project is estimated to be $35,181,630, which includes prior appropriations. The appropriation approved this Spring at the Special Town Meeting was $33.5 million, which is the amount that would be excluded from Proposition 2½.

What is the cost to the average single-family tax bill?

The Police Station debt is estimated to cost the average single-family taxpayer $258 in the first year of the debt, down to $149 in the 20th year of the debt repayment (average of $204 per year). This works out to approximately a 1.6% increase over current taxes for the first (highest) year.
What happens if we wait?

Earlier in the project, the estimate was that construction inflation would cost approximately $120,000 per month that we held off on construction. During the pandemic, with supply chain issues, this per month inflation figure increased dramatically and most projects now are seeing much higher costs due to construction inflation. Waiting at this point in time would only increase the cost of the project.

Will this impact the plans to build a high school?

The Town undertook an analysis of the cost of the Police Station and High School Projects and started planning on mitigating the cost of these projects with long term debt planning. This included a mechanism to set aside extraordinary new growth into a Capital Stabilization Fund to provide a sustainable method of mitigating the debt costs of these projects.

The estimated impact for the Police Station Project for the average single-family home in Lexington is $258 per year (or $21.50 per month) which is approximately a 1.6% increase in the property taxes for an average single-family home. It is anticipated that the High School Project debt service, which is currently estimated at $15.2 million per year ($350 million project) will be offset by a transfer from the Capital Stabilization Fund of approximately $11.5 million from new tax revenue generated from commercial projects that have already been approved. With the next debt service of $3.7 million, the High School Project is anticipated to add $318 per year to the average single-family home or a 1.9% increase.

Since the repayment on the Police Station Project will begin several years prior to the High School Project, the highest anticipated increase is 3.1% in the first year of the combined Police Station/High School debt. This does not include additional new growth that could offset costs of these projects, only the new growth associated with projects that have already been approved. Based upon this debt analysis and the long-term planning the Town has undertaken, we believe this amount of debt is acceptable against the benefits of these two projects.

What are the plans for the Hosmer House?

Hosmer House –  COURTESY PHOTO

The Town has issued three different Requests for Proposals (RFP) to have the Hosmer House moved by a private party. We are currently working with the bidder on the most recent RFP to hopefully work through the permitting and approval process to move the Hosmer House to a new location off-site so that it can be re-used as a residential property. If that does not get fully approved and moved to a new site, the Town will consider moving the house to a portion of Fletcher Park outside of the footprint of the Police Station and will develop plans to integrate the house into the final design for the park.
Where can I get more information?

The Town now has a dedicated web page on the Town’s website at so that residents can learn more about the project and make an informed decision on June 6. I invite residents with additional questions to contact me directly at or by calling my office at 781-698-4540.

We appreciate the Town’s support on this project. We have worked to make sure the project is inclusionary and following the Town’s integrated building design and construction policies to ensure the project is sustainable. We believe the new Police Station will provide an outstanding facility for our Police Department and our entire community.



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