LtE: Requesting a Community Meeting on Tax Implications

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Dear Reading Residents,

At the April 9th Select Board meeting I asked the Select Board to schedule and organize a community meeting/forum with the appropriate boards and committees to keep residents apprised of the substantial tax implications of all the upcoming projects and initiatives we have in the pipeline. Residents need a breakdown of the dollar figures for these projects/initiatives, even if they are estimated numbers. They also need an understanding of the Killam School Building process and what we could lose if that vote isn’t successful. It is imperative that this meeting/forum happen before any of these projects and/or initiatives go to a town vote.    

I have submitted an Instructional Motion (below) for Town Meeting. I felt it was important for all residents to see this motion and reach out to their precinct Town Meeting members to express support in scheduling this. Transparency ensures we successfully advance our residents’ most significant needs. 

The Finance Committee, Select Board, School Committee, Killam School Building Project Committee, Council on Aging, Reading Center for Active Living Committee, Community Preservation Act Committee, and Symonds Way Exploratory Committee come together for a community meeting/financial forum to give residents an outlook on the property tax implications of the below debt exclusion projects and any other anticipated capital projects that may not fall within the tax levy:

  • Killam Elementary School project
  • Senior/intergenerational center project
  • Symonds Way recommendations/partnerships/projects other than any possible senior/intergenerational center
  • Any other capital projects that might require a debt exclusion override vote
  • Community Preservation Act (CPA) including exactly how CPA is computed (i.e., on what tax rate such surcharge is computed, including whether it is computed using the base tax rate plus any additions to base tax rate from debt exclusions)

Residents should be informed of the exact reduction on the residential tax rate, per thousand of valuation, and/or average residential tax bill when the Library and Reading Memorial High School debt exclusions come off their property tax bill and the corresponding potential increases (estimated or actual) to the residential tax rate, per thousand of valuation, or average residential tax bill, for at least the above projects/initiatives, broken down for each project. As an example, such a breakdown could look like:

$0.88 per thousand for $80 million of debt for Killam
$0.32 per thousand for $28 million of debt for the Senior/intergenerational center
$150 on an average $10,000 property tax bill for a CPA at 1.5%. 

The Select Board should schedule such a meeting before the November Town Meeting and before any townwide votes are taken relating to any of the above initiatives/projects.  

Thank you for your support.


Melissa Murphy
Town Meeting Member
Precinct 8
Van Norden Road

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