Published in the October 1, 2015 edition



NORTH READING – Town Meeting will get underway on Monday, Oct. 5, at 7 p.m. in the high school’s Performing Arts Center to deal with a relatively short warrant of only 23 articles – many of them routine, few of them really controversial.

A preview of Monday’s warrant looks like this:

Article 1: Hear reports from town committees: The Economic Development Committee, SSBC and Senior Action Team are likely candidates.

Article 2: Vote to pay prior year’s bills, weighing in so far at a hefty $224.50.

Article 3: Transfer funds to Capital Improvement Fund.

Article 4: Appropriate money to Stabilization Fund.

Article 5: Transfer funds to the OPEB (Other Post Employment Benefits) trust fund.

Article 6: Appropriate money for special counsel legal expenses. This refers to legal expenses the town has incurred in pursuing action against the project manager and architect for unanticipated increased costs in the high school/middle school construction project. In March of 2013, the Selectmen hired special counsel to pursue legal action. So far, the town has spent $194,852 on the case. An additional $100,000 has been approved but not spent. Town Administrator Michael Gilleberto said the town is projecting a request for another $200,000 to continue legal action, including expert analysis by independent architects, project managers and cost estimators. The Selectmen have voted 5-0 to recommend passage of the article.

Article 7: Make amendments to the town’s fiscal 2016 operating budget.

Article 8: Appropriate $80,000 to fund the legally required triennial revaluation of all town property.

Article 9: Apply $77,568 in surplus funds toward permitting and technical support costs for the town’s MWRA water connection project.

Article 10: Provide about $200,000 for an engineering study to connect to the MWRA water supply through the town of Reading. The town has an ambitious goal of hooking up to the MWRA by 2019. Officials from the town of Reading will be on hand at Town Meeting to answer questions, if any, from the voters.

Article 11: The School Committee has been working for some time to obtain state funds for the replacement of the Little School roof. The request to be made at town meeting is estimated (at this time) at $263,450, with 46 to 48 percent of the cost reimbursed by the state.

Article 12: Fund an estimated $50,000 in repairs and improvements to town buildings.

Article 13: Supplemental funds, if needed, for the acquisition of the old JT Berry/Lowell Road property.

Article 14: To transfer a small parcel of land within Eisenhaure Pond Park so the Selectmen can then convey the land (or a portion of the land) to a resident of an abutting parcel who needs to replace her septic system.

Article 15: Grant an easement over town land to the owner of abutting land on Carpenter Drive.

Article 16: Editorial revisions in town bylaws. This article would make it easier to amend town bylaws by automatically renumbering sections when they are amended or replaced.

Article 17: The Selectmen will move to pass over this proposal from the Town Clerk to set up requirements for citizens who want to make visual presentations (such as PowerPoint displays) at town meeting using town computer equipment. Although there are valid concerns, particularly related to security of town computer equipment, the Selectmen felt the new requirements were too restrictive for an open town meeting. They will move to pass over.

Article 18: A proposal by the Department of Public Works to allow greater flexibility in scheduling funerals under extenuating circumstances such as extreme weather, etc. The Selectmen are still mulling this one over.

Article 19. The latest attempt to arrive at a workable bylaw regarding snow removal on sidewalks by business properties on Route 28. Again, the Selectmen are still mulling this one over.

Article 20. In September, the Mass. Supreme Judicial Court ruled invalid North Reading’s bylaw regulating where Level 3 Sex Offenders can live, along with similar bylaws from 48 other cities and towns in the state. At the recommendation of Town Counsel, this article would repeal the town’s bylaw because it cannot be enforced and may, in fact, send a conflicting message to public safety officers. By a 3-2 vote, the Selectmen want to pass over the article at town meeting, even though the sex offender bylaw cannot be enforced. Michael Prisco, Jeff Yull and Kathryn Manupelli voted in favor of leaving the invalid bylaw on the books while Robert Mauceri and Stephen O’Leary felt if it can’t be enforced it should be taken off the books. Police Chief Michael Murphy commented the bylaw conflicts with the state’s Sex Offender Registry law and his concern with leaving it on the books is that people will expect the bylaw to be enforced when it cannot.

Article 21. Adopt an updated version of the town’s zoning map.

Article 22. Accept a portion of Swan Pond Road as a public way.

Article 23: Accept Rahnden Terrace as a public way.