Monday, April 30, 2012
Proposed substance abuse program cut failed.
After two and a half hours of budget review last Thursday, Reading Town Meeting approved an $87.8 million budget for the coming fiscal year. So what? You ask. Your property taxes fund a large chunk of the budget. Property taxes this fiscal year, which started on July 1, 2011 and will end this coming June 30, accounted for 69 percent of town revenue, according to the Town Meeting Warrant. That revenue goes toward town expenses from schools to public safety, public works, the town’s library, and more. The town also receives state and federal aid and other local revenue, from excise tax to building permits to the new meals tax. During the budget presentations, one motion was made to cut $68,000 from the Reading Coalition Against Substance …
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Vote in our poll and let us know what you think.
Reading Town Meeting voted Monday night to withdraw from the Civil Service process, moving the hiring, promoting and disciplining of future police officers and superior officers up to the town. Some residents and Town Meeting members supported this, but several were against it. Read about their opinions here. Do you agree with the decision? Vote in our poll and let us know your thoughts. Feel free to expand on your vote in the comments section.
Two volunteers received selectmen’s first Community Service award.
Think about this. The only constant is change. Stephen Goldy, chairman of the Board of Selectmen, challenged Town Meeting to "embrace change" in his state of the town report Monday night. The state of the town is ”excellent,” Goldy said. Reading was recently named America’s fourth best suburb, he said, quoting from an article whose source he did not name: “a family-friendly, white-collar town” with public schools better than “98 percent of all US communities” and "87 percent of schools in the rest of the state.” Financially, “(T)he town’s fiscal health is good,” Goldy said. Among the five highlights he cited: Some town services were restructured, “with little if any loss of service to the customers.” Public health services were …
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Several Town Meeting members disagreed strongly.
After hearing from the Chief of Police and the presidents of the two police unions, Town Meeting voted Monday night to withdraw from the Civil Service process, moving the hiring, promoting and disciplining of future police officers and superior officers up to the town. Town Meeting spent just under an hour on the Civil Service question. Police Chief James Cormier and Sergeant Richard Abate, president of the superior officers’ association and Officer Chris Picco, president of the patrolmen’s association, along with Town Manager Peter Hechenbleikner, strongly recommended that the town withdraw from the Civil Service system. Several Town Meeting members strongly disagreed. The Civil Service process is cumbersome, time-consuming, expensive, …
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Annual Town Meeting is on April 23.
Here’s a twist on the warrant for annual Town Meeting. One of the articles proposes to reduce the size of Town Meeting, from 192 to 144 members, or from 24 to 18 residents in each of the town’s eight precincts. That article would also require a write-in candidate to receive at least 10 votes to be elected. Not enough town residents are interested in being Town Meeting members to sustain a Town Meeting of 192 members, according to the background of the article included with the warrant. Last month, when all Town Meeting members had to run for election as a result of re-precincting after the 2010 federal census, ”(C)andidates took out nomination papers for only 70 percent of the available seats,” the background states. Between 2011 and 2007…
Thursday, April 12, 2012
Related Town Meeting warrant article may be withdrawn if new bylaw includes appeal process.
An article on the spring Town Meeting warrant with a history dating back to November may be removed from the warrant so a new bylaw can be written that affects certain properties in town – and, ultimately, their possible demolition. Erin Calvo-Bacci, owner of The Chocolate Truffle on Main Street, proposed to add an appeal to the Board of Selectmen to the town’s demolition delay bylaw, for structures that the local Historical Commission deems potentially historically significant. Calvo-Bacci agreed at the selectmen’s meeting Tuesday to postpone the article to November Town Meeting so a new bylaw could be written, instead of amending what a number of town officials at the meeting described as an already-confusing bylaw. The process of …
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Reading Town Meeting will consider a resolution calling for a Constitutional amendment to allow the regulation of spending in elections.
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
The following was submitted by John Lippitt: In response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, Reading Town Meeting will consider a resolution calling for a Constitutional amendment to allow the regulation of spending in elections. The resolution, which will be Article 18 on the Town Meeting Warrant, states that It calls: The Supreme Court’s five-to-four decision on Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission in January 2010 was precedent-breaking, and hence precedent-setting. The court ruled that corporations and unions have the same rights to freedom of speech as are granted to U.S. citizens under the Bill of Rights. The court expanded on previous rulings that say that spending money is considered “speech”. It held, …