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Low-Key Town Meeting Expected on Monday

Town Meeting is held in the North Reading High School auditorium. Photo credit: Patch file photo.
Town Meeting is held in the North Reading High School auditorium. Photo credit: Patch file photo.

The question isn’t whether Town Meeting will last one night. The bigger question is will there be enough people to actually hold the meeting on time.

There isn’t a controversial article at Town Meeting on Monday. This means North Reading officials are faced with a possible repeat of two years ago when there weren’t enough people in the auditorium to hold the meeting.

Two years ago, people in the auditorium called friends and family to get them to Town Meeting and North Reading Patch posted to Facebook in hopes of getting enough people to take the time to attend Town Meeting.

Without a high-profile item, such as the high school/middle school project, few North Reading residents actually attend Town Meeting.

There aren’t any controversial articles this time, but here are three topics that may bring some interest:

Article 13 – Town budget – The upcoming budget article usually passes without much fanfare. Town Administrator Greg Balukonis and the Board of Selectmen have been working with department heads for months on the budget. The proposed fiscal year 2015 budget is $63.6 million, which includes $23.3 million for general government and $27.3 million for education.

Article 14 – Capital budget – The proposed capital budget is $2.2 million with nearly half ($1 million) for a new irrigation system at the Hillview Country Club. Town Meeting often asks questions about big-ticket capital budget items so this may yield a discussion. Other items in the capital budget are town roadwork ($165,175), replace culvert at Skug River ($150,000) and water system distribution improvements ($150,000).

Articles 18 and 19 – Grant easement for middle/high school project and acquire land for middle/high school project – These two articles are related. Article 18 looks to grant an easement along Park Street as part of a land swap with a property owner that will allow for a widening of the high school access road. Town officials have been discussing the matter with a Park Street property owner and there is no money involved in the swap. Article 19 is there in case negotiations with the resident breaks down. It will authorize the Board of Selectmen to purchase the land.
Kristen June 01, 2014 at 08:46 PM
I would like to attend once and a while but they are too early in the evening for a work week - particularly for those of us that work downtown.
Joe Veno June 01, 2014 at 09:00 PM
Town meeting use to start at 8pm. It was changed about 15 yrs. ago.

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