Todd Merkle


There is a perception in this Town that our Board of Selectmen is divided.  That there are certain members of the Board that understand that an Override is the ONLY structural answer to the financial predicament that we find ourselves in.  And these Selectmen are willing to not only vote to put an Override on the ballot but also to get out in the community and proactively educate voters and advocate for its passage.


While, on the other hand, there are some members on the BOS that may vote to put an Override on the ballot, but they do so only reluctantly and will be inclined to support only the smallest possible number.


What the citizens of Reading need right now is LEADERSHIP.


If there is an alternative structural solution to this problem, then stand up and present what that is.  After sitting through all of the Town budget and School Committee meetings over the past several weeks, I have yet to hear one.  If there are more cuts that you believe need to be made to the schools or the Town’s budget, then stand up and specify where those cuts should be made.  If the “balanced budgets” presented by the Town and the Schools over the past couple of weeks represent adequate funding levels in your minds then please make your position clear on that.


With respect to Override sizing, it is my personal opinion that there is a “fear factor” that is likely to be reflected in the Board of Selectmen deliberations set to take place on Tuesday evening January 30th.  It is a fear of getting your hands slapped again by voters on April 3.  Again, what we need right now from our Board of Selectmen is LEADERSHIP.  Regardless of who you consider to be your “core constituents”, Reading’s voters need to understand that this problem is simply not going away without a significant Override.  Going for the smallest possible number and then crossing your fingers and praying that new growth is going to somehow save the day is not leadership in my mind.


We already know that the aggregate of $4.7 million that has been requested by the Town and the Schools does not have long term sustainability built into it.  Any further reduction of this number is shortsighted and is likely to land us right back in this same spot a few years from now, right around the same time that you may have to go back to voters for the funding of Killam, the High School athletic fields, the DPW relocation or other debt exclusions.


So as your formulate your thoughts over the coming days, please do not simply look for the easiest path forward.  Please lead this Town to where it needs to go and support a full $4.7 million Override. 


Thank you.

Todd Merkle

Sanborn Lane

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