Letter: Brown Questions “Earmarked” Ballot Question

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At the request of the School Committee the Board of Selectmen voted to amend the original
ballot question that the voters of Reading will be asked to approve or disapprove on the April 3,
2018 override ballot.

The original question asked the voters to approve $2,654,969.00 for the schools as one part of
a four part question for a total amount of $4.15 million. The State DOR defines this type of
question as a “earmarked”. If approved by the voters this mandates that Town Meeting must
vote the funds in that manor.

As amended the school amount is now split into three “earmarked” sections that still adds up
to the $2,654,969.00.

By state law Town Meeting may only vote to increase or decrease the amount in the warrant
line item they CANNOT vote how that amount shall be used.

The ballot question that the voters will see now has three “earmarked” on the school line item.
In my opinion Town Meeting CANNOT vote on those “earmarks” by state law.

If the override fails the point is moot if it does pass being on a fixed income I do not the means
to support the needed challenge it should have.

Is there a lawyer out there that would be willing to take a cup of coffee and a doughnut for
payment in full for his or her service to challenge the question?

William C. Brown
Martin Road

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