Reading, MA — The Finance Committee (FinCom) voted 6-0 to recommend all twenty-eight line items of the Fiscal Year 2023 budget to Town Meeting on March 15. This recommendation includes $29,787,050 in shared costs, $32,015,975 in municipal spending, and $51,783,363 for the Reading Public Schools. In total, FinCom recommended a budget of $114,336,318 from the general fund. Additionally, FinCom voted 6-0 to recommend $17,225,072 for the water, sewer, stormwater, PEG access, and landfill enterprise fund budgets. FinCom recommends a combined total budget of $130,811,410 for FY 2023. Town Meeting will vote to approve the shared costs, municipal, school, and enterprise budgets under Article eighteen as Town Meeting begins on April 24.
Additionally, FinCom voted 6-0 to recommend eight other warrant articles to Town Meeting. These include Article four, amending the Fiscal Year 2022 capital plan; Article five, amending the FY 2022 budget; Article seven, transfer of funds to the Other Post Employment Benefits Trust Fund; and Article eleven, the establishment of a Community Garden revolving fund. FinCom will present its reports to Town Meeting on each article as they are introduced.
Reading Municipal Light Department (RMLD) Director of Business and Finance Wendy Markiewicz shared the past and projected future above the line and below the line payments to the town for the coming years. The above-the-line payment is mandatory and consists of 2% of the total kilowatt-hour sales in each community each year.
The below-the-line payment is voluntary and reflects a return on investment for the Town of Reading. Markiewicz shared that this payment has been frozen at $2,480,506 for the last three years as the RMLD conducted a study to determine the best route forward for the payment. Prior to this, the payment was based on the consumer price index.
According to Markiewicz, the RMLD Board of Commissioners recently voted to change the below-the-line payment to one based on an audit of kilowatt-hour sales over the prior three years. Based on the new formula, Markiewicz projects a payment of $2,548,905 in Fiscal Year 2023. Markiewicz noted that the below-the-line payments are always pending, assuming that there are no catastrophic events in future years.
FinCom adjourned at 8:50 pm.