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Moms Talk: What Makes Reading a Great Place to Raise Kids?

And what would the Moms Council change about the town, if they could?

Each week in Moms Talk, our Moms Council takes your questions, gives advice and shares solutions.

Our conversation starts today with a broad topic, but a good one. This week, we asked the Moms Council: From a parent's perspective, what makes Reading a great place to raise kids? And what is one thing you would change if you could?

Here’s what they had to say:

Alicia Botticelli-Tarasuk

Reading is such a great town! I was born and raised in Reading, so I may be a bit biased, but nonetheless, it is wonderful. I live AND work in Reading. Having gone through the schools I saw first hand how great the schools were. I played sports and took part in the drama program so I saw that aspect of the schools too. I stayed in Reading to raise my children here. I love the small town feel and the proximity to Boston and points north as well. 

Although bad things do occasionally happen in town, I feel it is still very safe for my family. I also like the fact that the commuter rail stops in town which is convenient to take into sporting events and such. We have easy access to major highways so work commuting is easy. We have a town meeting form of government which affords more citizenry input. Reading has always been known as a "bedroom" community, and the fact that we are one of the few cities and towns around that is not divided by a major highway helps to keep our bedrooms snuggly with a true sense of community.

So get involved to keep this town wonderful.

Erin Calvo-Bacci

When my husband and I couldn't sell the commercial building that homes The Chocolate Truffle in Reading, we had to make the tough choice of selling our home and moving a family of five into the apartment above the store. The consolation came with knowing I was moving my family to a town with an excellent school system in a tremendous and friendly community.

In 1979 my parents chose Reading for the school system, the land and the proximity to Boston and major highways. Ironically, the issues that were present then are still present today; the mindset that our town is "better then other communities" has trapped us in a slow-moving cycle detrimental to positive growth and change. It's interesting that elected officials and committee members talk about the tremendous improvement to downtown, when the downtown of my youth had a large variety of stores to shop for stationary, shoes and groceries. 

Our downtown is about to get more apartments which equates to a larger strain on our services.

As a parent I'm concerned with my children and work at being the best parent who can guide them through life challenges and provide them with the best opportunities. Most every parent that I know, myself included, dedicates an exceptional amount of time to volunteering for their children in the schools, in sports and with activities. As a

parent and a business owner I also volunteer within the town because I have a vested interest. As a parent I want change within Town Leadership. I want leadership to understand and address that it doesn't matter how we compare to other towns, how do they cultivate an environment where the community will work together respectfully? I

want Town Leaders focused on how we become the best Reading and work effectively at attracting businesses with employees who take time to support our businesses generating revenue so that all parents can afford to live in the place that I think is the best place to raise children.

AnonLikeU February 24, 2012 at 06:49 PM
I understand how assessments work, and they're based on property valuation. If you increase the value of your property via remodeling, addition etc., or the value is increased by the market, your assessed value goes up, and you pay more taxes. The assessed value, and what the property might be worth at that moment in time are never quite in synch because the appraiser is looking at real property values that are 12-18 months old. When the RE market is on the rise, this works in our favor, when in decline, not so much. When our properties are reassessed this year, the appraiser will attempt to get owner access to the inside of a house. If s(he) can't, then they'll calculate a value based on all the factors you mention, similar neighboring homes, AND the building permits that have been taken out during the period since last assessment. When I viewed the recent RCTV forum between the two candidates for the Board of Assessors position, this is what I heard. Please tell us how it is you think assessments work. The repairs to your home may or may not warrant an adjustment, it depends on its current valuation and the factors mentioned above.
Mr White February 24, 2012 at 07:14 PM
DD- The last sentence of your post completely makes CSC's point and arguement against you, "The repairs to your home may or may not warrant an adjustment, it depends on its current valuation and the factors mentioned above." Just because someone has added to, modified or repaired their property does not constitute an automatic increase in their assessment. Valuations are based on "Market Value" and there is typically a 2-year lag in current assessments vs current MV.
AnonLikeU February 24, 2012 at 07:20 PM
Hi Mr. White, If a homeowner adds a $100K addition to their home, all other things being equal, the value of their home will go up, and their assessed value will eventually reflect that resulting in increase to property taxes. Perhaps we're arguing about two different things then, because if the market value of a property increases, however that may come about, its assessed value increases and taxes go up. It seems pretty straightforward to me.
Christine February 24, 2012 at 07:43 PM
Reading used to be a part of Lynn years ago.....Now I am convinced it still is!
peter lucci February 24, 2012 at 11:22 PM
Hey look, Christine the fraud has re-emerged!! Why don't you & your wife head on back to Brockton. Just keep bashing your old home town anonymously, someday maybe you'll come back, if your wife let's you of course.

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