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Four Things You Missed at North Reading Town Meeting

North Reading Fall Town Meeting was Monday, Oct. 1.

This is the second in a series of articles posted about Fall Town Meeting:

Residents gathered at North Reading High School for Fall Town Meeting Monday night at 7 p.m. In case you missed it, here are some things you should know:

1. Article 3, Amend FY2013 Operating Budget, passed. Residents voted to amend the FY2013 Operating Budget. Both the Board of Selectmen and the Finance Committee unanimously recommended the article.

The town will now add money to the budget, here are some of the items and amounts:

Item Amount Salary Pool $40,000 IT expenses $5,000 Supplement salaries in Veteran's Department $5,834 Add to Recreation Enterprise Fund $27,148 Police Department expenses $3,377 Two police cruisers $82,280 Fire Department small capital $63,000 Ambulance reserve account $52,000 Supplement salaries to be added to Hillview Enterprise Fund $1,002 Hillview Debt Service $14,726 Water Debt Service $50,916 Additional exempt and non-exempt debt $3,515,381

"There's a lot of items here, a lot of it was driven by the fact that at June Town Meeting we had scheduled a Special Town Meeting and we didn't achieve a quorum. And as a result we made some budget adjustments with the intention of adjusting those budgets here at October Town Meeting, and that's what we are doing," Selectman Bob Mauceri said.

The article was passed unanimously.

2. Article 4, FY2013 Capital Improvement Plan, passed. Residents voted in favor of the town purchasing the following:

Project Department Cost Various hardware/software IT $91,354 MUNIS software IT $257,290 Disaster Recovery/Backup IT $25,000 Equipment replacement IT $45,000 Class A Pumper* Fire Department $485,000 Town Road Program Public Works $200,000 Replace Backhoe* Public Works $110,000 Town Hall security upgrades Public Works $51,000 Town Hall IT and Room 10 improvements Public Works $46,500 Library/exterior repair/paint  Public Works $12,000 Replace 1997 Turf Tiger Public Works $14,500 Facility improvements Hillview $300,000 Golf course improvements Hillview $100,000

*Add related equipment or accessories

The Board of Selectmen unanimously recommended this article. The Finance Committee members all recommended this article, except for one.

A resident asked why the Class A pumper, MUNIS software and backhoe, all items that did not have available funds, were necessary. 

Selectman Joe Foti explained that the Class A pumper needed to be purchased to replace the fire department's Engine 2 that was purchased in 1985, making it 27-years-old. Engine 2 currently has over 55,000 miles on it and 5100 engine hours. The fire department has spent a lot of money to repair the engine, and it's time for it to be replaced, Foti said. 

Foti also explained that the town is looking to replace two older backhoes. The first backhoe is 17-years-old, and the cost of repairs are over $21,000. The second one is 12-years-old and in poor condition. The repair cost exceeds 65 percent of the replacement cost.

Finance Director Elizabeth Pavao spoke about the need for MUNIS software, stating that MUNIS is the town's financial management system and currently the town does not have all the modules that MUNIS has available.

"In order to have a fully integrated financial management system we need to go forward with the other modules that are available to us, which would include tax, which is your real estate and personal property tax title and then utility billing which is your trash and your water bills," she said.

She also said that MUNIS will allow the town to report better, and to have "effective and efficient processes" in place.

The article passed unanimously.

3. Article 9, Fund Town Road Survey Services, was approved. The town voted to fund survey services relating to town roads; $19,000 will be transferred from free cash. Both the Board of Selectmen and the Finance Committee unanimously recommended this article.

The town is looking to survey streets that the town is already maintaining, but that are not accepted yet, to increase Chapter 90 funding from the state, Selectman Steve O'Leary said.

The article was passed unanimously.

4. Article 18, Establish Board of Health Clinic Revolving Account, was approved. Residents voted in favor of creating a Board of Health Clinic Revolving Fund, not to exceed $10,000, for immunization clinics and community health programs. 

The Board of Selectmen were 3-2 in favor of the article, the Finance Committee was not in favor and believed that the needs of the Board of Health were covered by their operating budget.

Chairman of the Board of Health Gary Hunt stated that the fund would allow the board to continue the administration of the flu vaccination program and to deal with emergency health issues, such as the shingles outbreak and emergency response issues, which are difficult to predict at the start of a fiscal year. 

Some were opposed to the article, but not enough. The article passed with majority vote.

Check in with us for additional Town Meeting coverage, and read more about Town Meeting here.

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