Town Meeting Approves $98.74 Million Budget
Town Meeting approved a $98.74 million Fiscal Year 2019 budget its the April 26 session. Three of the four sections of the town budget: shared costs, town government, and water, sewer and stormwater enterprise funds were presented to the members by Town Manager Robert LeLachuer. LeLachuer presented costs for each budget area, highlighting those which benefited from the $4.15 million Proposition 2 ½ override approved by voters at the April 3 local election. Increases from the override include $600,000 for health insurance benefits and $207,000 for use by the permanent building committee.
The budget adds a new position in town administration and also adds one in finance. Five positions will be added in the police department, including an additional Safety Resource Officer for the schools. Four new firefighters will also be hired as a result of the override. LeLachuer pointed out that the library will be able to once again offer Sunday hours. The Public Works Department will add an additional support staff person as well.
Water and sewer rates will remain unchanged in FY2019. This was able to be done for the year as a result of strong reserve fund balances. Each household will have an increased stormwater fee of $20 in FY2019.
Dr. John Doherty presented the $44,860,275 school department budget to town meeting. Doherty shared that eleven full-time equivalents (FTE) teaching positions were able to be retained as a result of the successful override. Six teaching positions which have been cut in the last few years have been restored as well. The override budget also creates two curriculum coordinator positions, one kindergarten teacher, and one preschool teacher.
No amendments were offered to any area of the budget, and the vote to approve the budget passed with 125 votes and 1 against.
Town Meeting opened with Select Board Acting Chair Barry Berman delivering the annual State of the Town Address. Berman welcomed the new members of Town Meeting as well congratulating all the individuals who were elected to the Library Board of Trustees, RMLD Board of Commissioners, School Committee, and the Select Board. He stated that despite two years of override talk, much has been accomplished. Highlighting accomplishments such as Senior Tax Relief, the Housing Production Plan, and downtown economic development, he charged the body with a call to volunteerism, collaboration, and civility in the coming year. The complete State of the Town address can be found [Here]
Other business Town Meeting approved was an amendment to the Library Replacement Materials Revolving Fund Bylaw, a request by the school department to enter into digital curriculum contracts of longer than three years, and, after some discussion, changes to section 6.0 of the zoning bylaw regarding building heights, front and side setbacks and site density in the town’s industrial district.
The changes simplify the bylaw, placing requirements in one chart for easy reference instead of across dozens of pages of regulations. It is expected that the changes will allow for easier growth in the district. Town Meeting also removed two members from their roles for lack of attendance.
Select “Men” No More
Town Meeting at its opening session on April 23 voted overwhelmingly to rename the Board of Selectmen as the Select Board. An instructional motion at the November Town Meeting asked that the Bylaw Committee investigate changing the name of the board to a more gender-neutral term. In response, the Bylaw Committee put forth Article 14 at this town meeting to change the name of the Board of Selectmen to “Executive Board” referencing the role that the board plays in town government and deeming it the most gender-neutral terminology. The Bylaw Committee motion was amended on the floor from “Executive Board” to the term “Select Board”, a gender-inclusive term. Town Meeting member Russell Graham supported the amendment, reminding Town Meeting of the history of the term Selectmen, as being those who were chosen, or selected, by their neighbors to represent them conducting the business of the town. Graham suggested that retaining the term “select” in the name reminds people of that history. The amendment was approved by a large majority of the members.
Town Manager Robert LeLacheur shared that about 90 towns in Massachusetts have adopted some form of name change of their boards, with the term “Select Board” being by far the most common term used. “Words matter, terms matter.” Town Meeting member Angela Binda argued during the discussion on the change. LeLacheur also indicated that some communities have chosen just to start referring to the board differently, but that Reading was choosing to alter the bylaws, making it a legal change. He also estimated that the costs to the town for this change would be in the neighborhood of $1,000 in legal fees. LeLacheur also reminded Town Meeting that making the change in documents and other places may take some time, citing the Selectmen’s Policies as an example of a document that might require formal public hearings before they could be altered with the new terminology. [More]
Select Board Approve Waiver for Main Street 40R
The Board of Select Board approved an entrance/exit waiver for the new development at 467 Main Street at their meeting on April 17. The development, a 40R mixed-use building at the location of the Sunoco gas station, has already been approved by the Community Planning and Development Commission. Select Board approved an entrance/exit waiver for the new development at 467 Main Street at their meeting on April 17. The development, a 40R mixed-use building at the location of the Sunoco gas station, has already been approved by the Community Planning and Development Commission.
The developer, Boghos Properties, was requesting that the Select Board allow the entrance/exit be forty-three and seven-tenths feet from the intersection of Green Street and Main Street rather than the required fifty feet. The intersection was recently modified to only allow right-hand turns out of Green Street. [More]
Public Safety Telecommunication Week
RCS Concert: What The World Needs Now Is Love
The Reading Community Singers will be presenting their annual Spring concert, at 7:30 pm on Saturday, May 5, 2018 at the Walter S. Parker Middle School, 45 Temple Street, Reading MA. The theme for this performance comes from the title of the centerpiece song; What The World Needs Now Is Love. Join the Singers as we feature inspirational music with a message, from The Beatles’ anthem ‘All You Need Is Love’ to the comedy shenanigans of P.D.Q. Bach’s ‘It Was A Lover and His Lass.’ Other titles include pop music’s ‘Love Will Keep Us Together’ and stunning classical piece ‘Sure On This Shining Night.’ The exciting medley from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ‘Phantom of the Opera’ provides the drama and there will also be a performance by this year’s RCS scholarship winner, a talented Senior from North Andover High School, Emily Cummings.
Tickets cost $20 for adults, $15 for students and seniors and can be purchased online at: readingcommunitysingers.org or by contacting Kathleen at 781-249-3444.
Friends of Reading Public Libary House Tour
The Friends of the Reading Public Library are pleased to welcome you to the 2018 House Tour. This year’s tour features nine homes that capture what makes Reading special. Homes notable for their age, style, size and yes, shape. All have been transformed in one way or another – whether to accommodate a lifestyle transition to “one-floor” living, restore a historic home to its original splendor, or incorporate contemporary updates to a classic style. [More]
Landry Releases Campaign Launch Video “Home”
Anne Johnson Landry, Democratic candidate for State Representative of the 30th Middlesex District, released her campaign launch video, “Home”. In the video, Landry emphasizes her extensive experience working in the Massachusetts legislature and her efforts with the successful Yes for Reading campaign.
“I’m running because I feel truly called to public service. I have over a decade of experience. I’ve worked on both the House and Senate sides of the state legislature and I can hit the ground running on day one as the next State Representative for Reading and Woburn,” stated Landry. With over a decade of public service, Landry knows how to listen to constituents and address their concerns through the legislative process.
“Reading and Woburn, to me, mean home. This is the community where my husband and I decided to begin our lives together and to start a family. We have so much invested here and I’m ready to do the work to make sure our district is a great one for many, many years to come,” Landry declared.
With this video, Landry hopes to demonstrate to the voters of the 30th Middlesex District her robust experience drafting, advocating for, and working to pass significant pieces of legislation, as well as her passion for working together with others to build strong communities in Woburn and Reading. With Landry, Woburn and Reading will have a full-time State Representative who is committed, compassionate, and cares about our communities.
Colonial Faire at Parker Tavern
103 Washington Street – Saturday, May 19 – 10 am to 4 pm
Col. Bailey’s 2nd Mass. Regiment Encampment
Blacksmith • Carpenter • Militia Activities
Games • Hands-0n Activities • Tavern Tours
4H Fife & Drum Corps • Fashion Show • Refreshments
The Tavern & the Faire open for FREE. This program is supported in part by a grant from the Reading Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.