Reading’s Finance Committee met on Wednesday, June 29th, and discussed their impressions of the three Community Listening sessions regarding the potential operational override vote this fall. Impressions of the Sessions were generally positive, though several members expressed that many in the sessions seemed to have little understanding about how the finances of the town government function. Due of this lack of understanding, members of the committee felt that attendees of the Listening Sessions had little context in which to give ideas for potential cuts to town government services, if there is no operational override.
Finance Committee Chair Mark Dockser commented, “It’s going to be difficult to get people to understand what the vote would be about.” Finance Committee member Anne Landry continued, “It felt like it was the Community Listening to the [Town Leadership] about the town government’s finances, and not the other way around. I do feel like people will want to vote for something tangible.” It was also clear to committee members that information to the public as it votes will need to be clear and concise. “People want to hear the bottom line,” Finance Committee member Marc Moll mentioned.
The committee continued to discuss the shifting the tax rate for commercial properties and the money spent on “optional” items such as the new library expansion and lighting at Birch Meadow. One thing the committee thought was clear was the desire of members of the community to try to protect senior citizens on fixed incomes from the potential increased burden on their tax bill. Plans to use the Reading Fall Street Faire to help inform the public were also discussed.
The Finance Committee will be continuing their discussion of the finances of town government and the potential override at their meetings throughout the summer. The Finance Committee’s summer schedule can be found here