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Election is Today; 24 Town Meeting Seats, 1 on Board of Assessors May Be Filled by Write-Ins

Town Clerk predicts 14 percent voter turnout.

Zero. Nada. Zilch. One of the town’s eight precincts has no candidate's name on the ballot for its eight Town Meeting seats to be filled in today's town election.

That’s Precinct 6.

And five other precincts have more open seats than candidates' names on the ballot: Precincts 1, 2, 3, 5 and 8.

Seats on the Board of Selectmen, Board of Library Trustees and Municipal Light Board are contested. Incumbent candidates for School Committee and moderator are unchallenged.

Voters will be asked one question on the ballot:  should Reading taxpayers pay just under $9.8 million to renovate and expand the town's public library?

Back to those Town Meeting seats. The number of names on the ballot for Town Meeting membership is “slowly going down,” Town Clerk Laura Gemme told Patch.

No name is listed on the ballot for an open seat on the Board of Assessors, either.

To fill those seats, voters can write in the name of a resident for town assessor and a name or names of residents to represent them in their precinct at Town Meeting, depending on the number of open seats.

On Wednesday, Gemme will notify the people who have been elected by write-in vote, she explained. They’re seated by the number of votes they receive, in descending order.

Following that order, if there’s a tie — more than one person with the same number of write-in votes and too few openings to seat them all, the Town Meeting members in that precinct break the tie, Gemme said. That happens on the first night of Town Meeting, in precinct meetings, she said.

Whoever receives the highest number of write-in votes will be seated on the Board of Assessors. That resident must get certain certification within a certain period of time, Gemme told Patch.

Some people elected by write-in vote don’t want the job.

A lot of time we don’t hear from them, Gemme said.

But unless they submit a letter of resignation to the town clerk’s office, “They’re members” of Town Meeting, she confirmed.

At the upcoming annual Town Meeting, which will start on April 22, one article asks whether Town Meeting will declare the seats of 22 members vacant because they either failed to take the oath of office within the 30-day deadline or failed to attend one-half or more Town Meeting sessions during the previous year.

Town Meeting voted in May, 2012, against reducing its size from 192 members – 24 from each of eight precincts – to 144, or 18 per precinct.  The vote:  121 opposed, six in favor. At that same meeting, Town Meeting rejected a motion to increase the number of write-in signatures required to be elected to that body to more than one.

Just over 17,000 Reading residents are registered voters, according to Gemme.

She’s predicting that 14 percent of them will cast ballots Tuesday between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. at the RMHS Field House.  Even with that rate of voter turnout, some people always rush in as the clock ticks down to 8 p.m., she noted.

The candidates for Town Meeting whose names appear on the local election ballot follow, by precinct, along with the total number of on-ballot candidates in each precinct. Incumbents are listed first, alphabetically, followed by non-incumbents.

Precinct 1 -- 3

William Grace, Steven Perry and Janet Triglione, all incumbents.

Precinct 2 --3

Howard Cohen and Denise Iozzo, incumbents and Denise Benard.

Precinct 3 -- 4

Jane Fiore, incumbent and Rachelle Garcia, John Russell and Margaret Russell.

Precinct 4 - 11

Barry Berman, Richard Coco, Robert Connors, Glen Hartzler, Arthur Hayden, James Maughan, John O’Neil and Karen Richard, all incumbents and Charlene Bazarian, Amy Maccalous Hennessy and Demetra Tseckares.

Precinct 5 -- 7

Donnan Barnes, Robert Ferrari, Bo Garrison, Laurence Hayes, Jr., Daniel Knowles and Philip Rushworth, all incumbents and Kevin Walsh.

Precinct 6 -- 0

Precinct 7 -- 8

Brandon Chapman, Mark Foodman, John Lippitt, Gary Phillips, Jeffrey Struble and Bryan Walsh, all incumbents and Marcel DuBois and Denise Wyer.

Precinct 8 -- 5

L. Scott Davarich, Olive Hecht, Wiliam Hecht Sr., Stephen Herrick and Kevin Sexton, all incumbents.

Be sure to vote today at the RMHS Field House between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Bill April 02, 2013 at 10:51 AM
Vote NO on the Library. There are better solutions that cost less money and we need to analyze and evaluate those without the "distraction" of having the matching funds from the state influence our decision. Reading has proven that we can be self sufficient and pragmatic once the politics are removed from the equation. The project hasn't even begun and the estimates have already risen ( which demonstrates another very poor administrative job by our elected officials-the first one was the multi million dollar mistake made by our tax assessor in the rate setting exercise that caused all of your taxes to increase even more than expected, but we did get an apology which makes it all better, right?) Do you think for a moment that it will stop at $13M? NO WAY...this will become the next albatross in town. Just like the High School, they will come across issues that were "unanticipated" and "unexpected", but will add substantial additional cost to the final amount. My guess is that it would end up costing $16-18M when it is complete.
Bill April 02, 2013 at 10:51 AM
page 2 Knock the existing building down, start from scratch, construct a reasonable facsimile of the exterior, reduce the size, add technology and save MILLIONS, not to mention the TAX SAVINGS!!! Children's reliance on the library is decreasing every day and that should be the indicator we use for what we require for the future, not the current usage by an aging population. When was the last time you reached for an Encyclopedia Brittanica? Embrace the shift and don't fight the changes. The trend is your friend. Please don't give in to the pandering liberals and all their lawn signs. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH ALREADY
Lynn Fraser April 02, 2013 at 11:31 AM
Vote no on the Library! While I agree that the Library needs renovations, included in this renovation is the additional parking that will take out the "Hill" and permanently change the residential feel of the neighborhood. Any one that grew up as a kid, or has children in the library area realizes the importance to keeping this green space intact. It just amazes me that they can slip something like this through with no notification to the abutting neighbors! No one has even considers the effect this new Library parking lot will have on this wonderful residential neighborhood!
Matt w. April 02, 2013 at 02:30 PM
please vote YES for the library. The renovations will only affect the very steep hill to the side not the more usable one in front of the library. The library needs help, it is falling apart. Renovating the library will not ruin the "residential feel of the neighborhood" children will still have green space to play and more importantly the library will be able to function well with the increasing demand on its resources. vote YES to save the library.
Jean April 02, 2013 at 02:38 PM
On the heals of this vote will come another for the schools. Be sure to vote with that in mind. As much as I think Libraries are great, I'm voting NO on the Library project. The schools are more of a priorty to me.
Brandon Chapman April 02, 2013 at 03:34 PM
I wish we were presented with other alternative plans instead of just the one. I understand that we lose state funding if it were a straight reno as opposed to a reno/expansion, but I would have liked to hear a projection of the costs of a renovation. No one's denying that the building needs serious work, but with so many projects coming down the pike, I can't in good faith vote in favor of this proposal. I voted yes at Town Meeting to put this issue on the ballot as I feel the voters in Town as a whole deserve a say, however I will personally be voting no.
Ron Powell April 02, 2013 at 03:51 PM
I love and strongly support our Reading Public Library, but this debt exclusion override is not in the best interests of Reading at this time. The best choice for the Town is to vote "No," which will allow all of the stakeholders to go back and come up with a more workable plan.
M April 02, 2013 at 04:16 PM
ITA with Bill, Brandon, Ron and Lynn, and I say this as a library lover who respectfully disagrees with Bill that the library will be replaced by tech. My careful review of all the public docs I could find shows that a large portion of these costs are bringing the library up to modern bldg codes, which we'd have to do under state laws because of the size of the reno (and also possibly b/c of cost & state contribution). A smaller reno, or a so-called "band aid" or "1 Mil" fix does not trigger this need to suddenly install new elevators, change the stair/staircase, etc. Look at the libraries in Wakefield, Stoneham & Lynnfield - all have open staircases not unlike ours (which is now not "up to fire code" being open and all). And the stair treads being small and sized better for kids as not meeting code -- please. That is not a justification for a 10 mil override. If you look at the detailed list of reno costs they want you'll see a lot of "gravy" on top of the required fixes - things like a fireplace, new teen lounge/cafe, etc. There is NO NEED for the town to pay for these luxuries with an override. I think they never put any alternative plans, like the 1 mil fix, out there because they know that the rational folks in this town would of course prefer those.
M April 02, 2013 at 04:27 PM
Read these plans (only a few pages) before you vote, to understand what you'd be paying for: http://www.readingpl.org/wp-content/uploads/bldghandout.pdf 1 pg table showing pros/cons/cost of do nothing, maintain renovate, major rehab, expand, or new (note all costs have gone up, funny how they never estimated costs of merely "maintaining", and why is "negative community reaction" listed as a con of "maintaining"? Also, why is library obligated to provide free space for private tutors?) http://www.readingpl.org/wp-content/uploads/Bldg-Pros-Cons-Trustees-6-15-09-with-2013-Comments.pdf 3 page executive summary from 2008 explaining library - IMHO we could fix the 1st 6 high priority items for well under 2 mil: conditionhttp://www.readingpl.org/wp-content/uploads/Building-Assessment-Report-Exec-Summ-Public.pdf
Mr White April 02, 2013 at 07:40 PM
I VOTED NO! The Library Board is just trying to cover-up their mismanagement and lack of attention to the facility for the past 20 years. The majority of the now major fixes needed are the result of 'deferred maintenance", had they been addressed when they first arose, the repair costs would have been minimal. Typical, kick the can down the road until you can con the taxpayers into buying a new can, I still don't understand why all of a sudden having the stacks in the lower level is such a "hardship". So now, not only can liberals not do an honest days work but, they can't even walk up and down the stairs??
Charles April 02, 2013 at 07:45 PM
Matt, Vote yes to "save the library"? If you vote no, "Is it going to disappear"?
Charles April 02, 2013 at 07:51 PM
Mr. White, I would disagree with you about Library Board mismanagement and lack of attention to the facility. I have been at meetings over the years that it was brought up. The Town Manager has the final say on the budget for maint. on the building. Look at our road - terrible shape. Downtown - took 12+ years and millions of dollars - is really that much better? Town Hall went to 4 day work week to save money - where is the study to show the savings? Just spent 15K for a hiring consultant that gave us a finalist that was kicked out of his previous 2 jobs. PH has been the issue and everyone knows it. 59 days and counting
Mr White April 02, 2013 at 08:52 PM
@Charles, While I don't disagree with you one bit, the Library Board just went along to get along. They were negligent in their fiduciary duty in guiding the library. They are as much at fault as PH, maybe not as much but close...
James Perry April 02, 2013 at 11:48 PM
Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance.
Matt w. April 03, 2013 at 12:20 AM
Charles I think its pretty clear that's not what I was implying. What I mean is that the library is falling apart and as someone who has enjoyed lots of time in the library I think its important to renovate it so it can continue to provide the resources, education and experiences so many people have benefited from. It one of the best places in town and it would really be a shame to see it deteriorate further. So while maybe the library will not disappear it will not be able to provide the same resources people have come to expect if we don't vote yes for this.

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