NORTH READING — Okay North Reading…it’s time to reconvene the “greatest show on earth,” otherwise known as the Annual Town Meeting, on Monday, June 12!

The gavel sounds promptly at 7 p.m. so be sure to leave enough time to get a parking spot at NRHS and enter through the gymnasium doors. Voters will be guided to the check-in tables where they will be given a ribbon to pin to their shirts or jackets indicating they are eligible to vote.

Corrected Town Meeting Warrants were re-mailed to all households two weeks ago as the first warrant that was mailed inadvertently omitted several pages. Voters are asked to bring their copy of the warrant with them. It is also available on the town’s website ( Limited paper copies will be available at the check-in tables.

Town Meeting will be held in the school’s gymnasium where each of the 35 motions will be projected upon a large screen prior to action being taken. The printed warrant contains the full details on each of these motions.

The town’s Finance Committee continues to stress in the following report to Town Meeting that a balanced budget has been achieved for FY24 but doing so was a monumental task given the ever-increasing rate of overall inflation combined with a limited increase in the rate of revenue growth for the town.

The eight-member committee of Abby Hurlbut, Chair; Dan Mills, Vice Chair; Richard Johnson, Clerk; Dan Pulver, Janene Imbriano, Don Kelliher, Tim Sutherland and Matt Davis has outlined these challenges below and also breaks down the percentages and dollar amounts spent based on the “average” household tax bill of $10,500.

Report of the North Reading Finance Committee June Town Meeting 2023

In an effort to provide a snapshot of the sources of town revenue, the town’s expenses, and how this breaks down on the homeowner’s real estate tax bill, we have developed a series of pie charts to display these data. The Finance Committee plans to expand these charts in the future in an attempt to provide additional information and transparency to residents. Charts are on the following pages. As we plan for the upcoming fiscal year we do so with the knowledge that it becomes more difficult to balance the budget each year.

The current rate of inflation affects many areas of town expenses. It is a monumental task to balance the ever growing needs and wants of the Town and its residents with the limited increase in revenue.

The combined efforts of the Financial Planning Team members have been successful in closing this annual gap, but only with some pain and compromise. Services, wages and other expenses increase at a greater rate than the 2 1/2 % tax cap. This year as the budget has been developed some requests have been declined and some capital items have been unfunded. Several requests for “new hires” have not been able to be funded. While the town has been successful at developing a balanced budget the challenge continues to be how do we continue to maintain as much as possible of level services.

It has not been without some difficult decisions. We continue to carefully guard resources for the future. However we would be remiss if we do not take care of the town’s infrastructure. You will find that FY2024’s Capital budget continues to support needed equipment, roads and structural repairs. For example the Capital budget includes repairs to the Park Street Bridge, engineering and redesigning of several dangerous roadway intersections, and ongoing roads work. If such items are delayed the projects can become much more expensive.

We need to take care of our school and municipal buildings. This past year has seen work done to the Library, the Damon Tavern and The Third Meeting House. The Facilities Master Plan Committee has been working with architects and engineers to bring about a major renovation of the Fire Station to meet current requirements for modern fire apparatus and the safety of our firefighters.

This upcoming year will see much needed new HVAC at the library and a new boiler for the Hood School among projects necessary to maintain school and municipal buildings. Residents have also experienced the negative impact of the current economy. However, we want to see the gains achieved through quality education programs, public safety and infrastructure maintenance be sustained.

Through the hard work of both school and municipal leaders in conjunction with the Town Administrator, School Superintendent, School Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Operations, Finance Committee, Financial Planning Team, Capital Planning Improvement Committee, and the Town Finance Director we have arrived at a balanced budget. It is one that can be lived with and one which reflects future challenges.



($10,500 Tax Bill)

The dollar amount and percent share of the average tax bill is as follows:

Education: $5,204/ 50%

(Public, Vocational, Technical & Agricultural Schools)

Pension & Benefits: $1,927 / 18%

(Current Town and School Employees and Retirees)

Exempt Debt Service: $829 / 8%

(Middle/High School Construction, Police Station Renovations,Hood School Renovations, Batchelder School Renovations, Smith Property, etc.)

Police Department: $606 / 6%

General Services: $540 / 5%

(Library, Town Clerk, Elder Services, Veterans’ Services, Code Enforcement, Community Planning Commission, Conservation Commission, Parks & Recreation, etc.)

Administration & Finance: $488 / 5%

(General Town Administrative Office, Finance Department, Town Counsel, Human Resources, IT Department, General Insurance, Reserve Fund, etc.)

Fire Department: $464 / 4%

Public Works: $442 / 4%

(Road Maintenance, Engineering, Snow & Ice operations, Tree Maintenance, Solid Waste Management, Street Lighting, Grounds and Cemetery Maintenance, Machinery Maintenance, Facilities Maintenance, etc.)


TOTAL EXPENSES: $81,382,296 / 100%   

  • Education: $38,262,928 / 47%
  • Pension & Benefits: $14,605,110 / 18%
  • Debt Exclusion Taxes: $6,302,988 / 8%
  • Public Works: $4,768,847 / 6%
  • Police: $4,396,853 / 5%
  • Fire: $4,087,918 / 5%
  • General Services: $3,950,612 / 5%
  • Administration & Finance: $3,740,272 / 4%
  • Non-Exempt Debt (annual capital projects): $1,266,768 / 2%


  • Residential Real Estate Taxes: $48,918,171 / 60%
  • State Aid: $10,092,621 / 13%
  • Commercial/Industrial Real Estate Taxes: $6,670,660 / 8%
  • Debt Exclusion Taxes: $6,059,595 / 7%
  • Other Financing Sources: $3,640,304 / 5%
  • Other Fees & Taxes: $3,245,945 /4%
  • Motor Vehicle Excise Tax: $2,755,000 / 3%

TOTAL REVENUE: $81,382,296 / 100%