Published in the September 10, 2015 edition
By BOB TUROSZ
NORTH READING — The Oct. 5 Town Meeting that will get underway in the high school’s Daniel Shay Performing Arts Center looks like it will be a “one and done” affair, with voters able to finish the town’s business in one fairly short session.
At this point there are only 22 suggested articles for the warrant – it’s always possible a few more might crop up before the document is formally approved and sent to the printer – and of the 22 known so far nothing seems to pose a major controversy.
Article 1 – a routine article to hear and act on the reports of town officers and committees.
Article 2 – a standard request to pay any prior year’s bills (bills that may have been received after the start of the July 1 fiscal year.)
Article 3 – Appropriate money to the Capital Improvement Stabilization Fund. The goal is to beef this up by $175,000 this year.
Article 4 – Appropriate money, if available, to the Stabilization Fund.
Article 5 – Appropriate money to the OPEB account (Other Post Employment Benefit Fund). The goal is to increase this to $250,000.
Article 6 – Amend the Fiscal Year 2016 town operating budget. Town Administrator Michael Gilleberto said he continues to evaluate budgets a little over two months into the fiscal year.
Article 7 – Fund the town’s fiscal 2016 property revaluation. It’s estimated about $80,000 will be needed.
Article 8 – Fund an engineering study related to the town’s goal of joining the MWRA water distribution system. This would be a reappropriation of an article from a past town meeting that was intended to repair bolts at the Tower Hill Water Tank. It was subsequently determined the bolts can be repaired rather than replaced, extending the useful life of the tower by about seven years. By reappropriating the $75,000 or so, the town can support three necessary aspects of the MWRA application: permitting for the Interbasin Transfer Act; support filing the application with the MWRA, and continue discussions with Reading for technical and engineering support, according to Gilleberto.
Article 9 – Support the school department’s proposal to repair the roof of the Little School by appropriating funds. The school department has applied to the state to cover part of the cost of the roof job.
Article 10 – Fund repairs to town buildings. There is no firm number attached to this at this time.
Article 11 – Also related to the MWRA connection, this would fund design work to support the permit work needed for an MWRA connection – geotechnical work, etc.
Article 12 –A placeholder at this point for supplemental funds or “safety net” for the development of the JT Berry property.
Article 13 – File a home rule petition with the Legislature to clear up a title problem for a house on Magnolia Road going back to when the town took land up there to create a park. This will require a petition to the legislature and is necessary to assist residents who purchased a home at 13 Magnolia Rd. recently and later discovered the property’s septic system was located on town owned property that was taken by the town as part of the 2005 land takings intended to establish Eisenhaure Pond Park. Because the land was taken to be part of a park, it’s a legal challenge to convey enough land back to the owners to locate a suitable septic system.
Article 14 – An amendment to the town code to automatically renumber bylaws when amendments are adopted or otherwise changed by Town Meeting.
Article 15 – Create a review process by the Town Clerk and Town Moderator for visual presentations (PowerPoint, slide photos, etc.) that citizens may want to present at Town Meeting. This is similar to the review procedures for handouts at Town Meeting and would protect town equipment, which is frequently used at the meetings. “For example, if someone comes into Town Meeting with a USB stick and infects it,” said Selectmen Chairman Robert Mauceri.
Article 16 – Funerals and interments in town cemeteries. The DPW is proposing language regarding the notice needed and possibly a tiered fee structure for opening of graves, etc. But there will be further discussion on this one. Selectman Mike Prisco said the town bylaw stipulates 24 hours and he wouldn’t be in favor of increasing it.
Article 17 – The issue of snow removal for sidewalks on Main Street will be revisited yet again.
Article 18 – Updating the town’s zoning map to reflect the zoning amendments that were approved at the June Town Meeting.
Article 19 – Acceptance of Swan Pond Road.
Article 20 – Acceptance of Rahnden Terrace.
Article 21 – To grant an easement on Chestnut Street for Carpenter Drive.This is related to a failed attempt by the town to win a grant to construct elderly housing on 10 acres of land off Chestnut Street back in 2007. The grant application was rejected, leaving Stephen O’Neil, 1 Carpenter Dr. with a major problem. O’Neil had an agreement with the town to construct a road for access to the town property and also to provide frontage for property he wanted to develop. The article would give the Selectmen the authority to grant an easement at 71R Chestnut St. to Stephen O’Neil, Trustee of 69 Chestnut St. Realty Trust.
Article 22 – To request supplemental funding to pursue the ongoing high school project litigation.