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If the above title is your position on the override, I’ll take it! If you’re still a NO, take a second to consider being a YES, BUT! In other words, vote YES, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have concerns about how the money will be spent. It means you are willing to give the Town a chance to show you they can spend it wisely and– more importantly– you recognize that the money is needed to continue providing level services.
Let me point out that I side with fiscal conservatism, but personally, I think there are very good grounds for this override to pass. That’s why I am an absolute YES on the override. With that said, I do not come to that decision easily. I know there are people in town who genuinely can’t afford to make an override work for them, even if they feel it’s warranted. And, I certainly sympathize with them and respect their decision. I too wish there wasn’t a need for this override, but there is.
There have been several other LTE’s written that pointed out the facts around the Town’s budgetary issues, so I won’t repeat them here. With that said, here are some important things to bear in mind. First, the State and the Federal Government have made “living within our means” a non-option. Unfunded mandates, increasing healthcare costs, and State Aid that continues to decline more and more each year, are the biggest contributing factors for this override. All of these accommodated costs/lost revenue are pushed onto towns and cities across the Commonwealth. They are outside of our control and no level of budgetary management will change that. And second, for a town like Reading, we just don’t have the right makeup to generate new revenues like some other towns do, to offset those costs without asking you, the taxpayer, for help every now and again.
So my title to this letter is YES, BUT…? But what’s next? Next are two things. First, pass this override, and second, let’s all get to work! While Reading may not have a tremendous amount of resources, such as open land for appropriate commercial development, we DO have a highly educated citizenry. We DO have some resources we can repurpose to help offset the need for future overrides or at least make them less expensive for all. It’s going to take all of us, to make Reading’s resources work better into the future.
So here’s a challenge for you – pass this override and join me in working towards a better future for Reading. While I’m no longer a selectman, I’m still in this town for the long haul and I’m willing to dig in to make it work better!
Will you join me? Vote YES, But!
Kevin M. Sexton