Selectmen Hear Several Reports

The May 2 Board of Selectmen meeting featured updates to the board from several municipal and independent groups. The Meadowbrook Golf Club gave a brief introduction to a future petition it is going to make regarding its liquor license. The club hopes to expand the scope of its license to allow for the delivery of beer and wine to members playing out on the course. The petition is expected within a few months, once details have been worked out.

The Reading Street Faire has been handed over from the Street Faire Committee to the Reading Rotary Club. Brian Snell, chair of the Street Faire Committee, after explaining some the details of the shift, asked that the Faire Committee be “sunsetted” as of the second, so that the Rotary could get to the work in earnest. Aiding the continuity of the handoff is that Snell is the incoming President of the Rotary Club. The Selectmen voted 5-0 to sunset the committee.

The Reading Garden Club reported that its upcoming flower sale on May 20 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. will again be on Reading Common. The annual fundraiser moved from the library to the common last year due to library construction and was the most successful sale in years.  Arts Reading will participate with demonstrations and performances.

Next was David Zeek of the Climate Advisory Committee who shared about that committee’s activities including the recent Earth Day celebration at Parker Middle School and an instructional motion for Town Meeting directing the committee to explore restrictions on lightweight plastic bag use in town.

Carl McFadden, who is the Board’s representative to the Burbank Ice Arena, came to report next. He highlighted the unique public/private partnership that the town has with the arena and how the town’s youth leagues and school teams have benefitted from the relationship. McFadden also announced that the arena would be returning $58,000 to the town this year. He suggested that projections for next year’s contribution could be closer to $100,000.

Reading’s representative to the Reading Municipal Light Department’s Citizen Advisory Board, Neil Cohen, came to report. Cohen has only been on the advisory board for a few months and is still learning his way around. Board of Selectmen Chair John Arena charged him to be the eyes and ears of the selectmen in the RMLD. Cohen stated that he understood and looked forward to serving.

Kevin Mulvey, Chair of the Reading Housing Authority came in next to give an update. After a brief report, concern was expressed by several board members about the loss of a few units under authority control that have been removed from the town’s affordable housing list. While retaining units on the affordable list is not the explicit role of the authority, concern was expressed about how the goals of the selectmen and the housing authority could be better merged to meet the goals of the entire community.

The working group initiating a possible statement on human rights by the board of selectmen presented its report. The resolution, which was first brought to the Board a few months ago, has undergone editing as a result of the efforts of the working group. The group included the participation of board members Arena and Barry Berman. The group listened to concerns from the selectmen as well as input from community members in writing the edited version. Town Counsel Ray Miyares issued a letter to the board recommending caution because of potential first amendment issues that could come from a town board defining acceptable speech. The working group had its own opinion on this issue written by an attorney from the American Civil Liberties Union. The board heard some discussion on the resolution from members of the working group and from some members of the public before deciding to complete deliberation on the resolution at its May 30 meeting.

The board completed its meeting by voting 5-0 to extend the sunset date for the Human Relations Advisory Committee by 60 days to allow the committee time to determine what it believes its next steps should be. The selectmen also confirmed their own liaison assignments. The meeting adjourned to executive session at 10:00 p.m.

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