This week, North Reading officials will start deliberations on a proposed $3.75 million override that would fund three consecutive years of tax increases.
The three-year plan, which has been brainstormed in subcommittee meetings between the Finance Committee, Selectmen and School Committee, would earmark a $1.5 million tax increase in fiscal 2008, another $1.5 million in 2009 and a $750,000 in fiscal 2010.
Town Administrator Greg Balukonis said if approved by various town boards, the overrides would be sought in a single ballot question this year, but the various tax increases would be phased over three years.
For an average taxpayer whose home is assessed at $450,000, that would mean a tax bill would increase $255 in the first year, $256 in the second and $124 more in the third year. The three-year tax increase means the same homeowner who was pays an annual tax bill of $4,869 in 2007 would be paying $6,221 by 2010.
According to the School Department, annual increases between 5 and 6 percent are needed each year to simply maintain level services. Without an override this year, 10 staff layoffs would occur, larger class sizes would be implemented and no new textbooks could be purchased.
Balukonis said selectmen have until April 2 to vote on the override.
The School Committee will begin its deliberations on Monday, School Committee member Mel Webster said. If approved by the boards, the plan will go to April Town Meeting on April 30 and a special election that could be held as early as June 5.
-- Melissa Beecher
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