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Tiverton Council Endorses Fiscal 2012 Budget at 1.4 Percent Levy Increase

Patch reported live from Tiverton's Town Council meeting of Monday, March 12.

7 p.m. The meeting begins.

Rep. Edwards seeks support for Sakonnet River Bridge bill

7:04 p.m.  Council votes 6-0 to support House Bill H-7306 by Rep. Jay Edwards (D-Tiverton, Portsmouth) . Councilor Cecil Leonard is absent.

Edwards says the bill stops the change of bridge ownership from the Department of Transportation to the Bridge and Turnpike Authortiy, and prohibits tolls.

"It would be an added tax to the citizens in the East Bay area," Edwards said, adding tolls will be at or more than the cost for the Newport Pell Bridge toll, and will completely cut off Tiverton from the rest of the state. A copy of the bill is attached to this post.

Adoption of carryforwards and transfers policy

7:09 p.m. Council votes 6-0 to approve a consent agenda item on Councilor Rob Coulter's carryforwards and transfers policy as part of his long term financial plan for the town. It was presented at the . The policy documents the transfer of budget authority among accounts during a current fiscal year and carrying unspent authority from one year to the next. The town administrator can transfer up to $5,000 within a particular department, and up to $3,500 between departments without proir Town Council approval.

7:10 p.m. Council votes 6-0 to approve sending a letter to President Barack Obama to request restoring Clean Water Act protections. 

7:12 p.m. Public speaking portion of agenda commences.

Stormwater report approved

7:35 p.m. Council votes 6-0 to approve the annual stormwater report, as brought forward at the Feb. 27 meeting with Director Stephen Berlucchi.

Wind farm discussion

7:37 p.m. Council speaks with Garry Plunkett about the possible wind development talk and legislation to make the East Bay Energy Consortium (EBEC) a public corporation. Plunkett reports that the legislation was filed by deadline, puts it into a que, where the nine towns involved with have to endorse the wind energy idea. It makes EBEC a legal entity, giving it the authority to issue tax free bonds and finance a project without risk to Tiverton.

Council President Jay Lambert said the issue of eminent domain came up at the last meeting, as an entity being governed by member towns, it must have one of the three government powers: police, taxation or eminent domain.

Plunkett also mentions a special EBEC breakfast meeting next Tuesday, March 20 at the in Portsmouth is taking place to discuss the legislation.

Department discretionary budget pilot program approved

7:47 p.m. Council votes 4-2 to approve Coulter's department discretionary budget pilot program. Councilors Ed Roderick and Brett Pelletier vote no. The , and are being recommended in the pilot program. It is aimed to allow departments to fund its own department discretionary budget up to $1,000 so that department can make spending requests of a minor size.

Elderly Low Income tax exemption program continued

8:08 p.m. Council votes 6-0 to continue Coulter's property tax relief measures proposal. Tax Assessor Dave Robert said the Property Tax Exemption Committee determined that legislation at the General Assembly would be needed in order to change the town's tax credit so the council to adjust income levels.

Council endorses fiscal 2012 municipal budget

8:14 p.m. Town Administrator Jim Goncalo presents the final approximate $18.2 million fiscal 2012 municipal budget with revenue estimates and estimate tax rate analysis. He says the current budget proposal is a 1.4 percent increase on municipal side of tax levy. Goncalo said the expenses were lowered by about $3,400 and they added $192,820 in excess surplus, drawn from the General Fund, for one-time purchases for capital equipment.

Goncalo notes they anticipate an approximate $200,000 surplus in fiscal 2013, with $86,000 of that attributed to actual growth in town.

9 p.m. The council is still talking about the revenue estimates and the funded and unfunded police pension portions for the upcoming fiscal year. Lambert points out the town will be paying $700,000 into police pension.

9:25 p.m. Council votes 3-2-1 to increase the grant to the library to $477,060. Motion passes and added to Goncalo's budget recommendation. Councilors Dave Nelson and Joan Chabot vote no. Councilor Coulter abstains.

9:36 p.m. Council votes 4-2 to send the budget proposal to the Budget Committee. Nelson and Chabot oppose.

Marketing the industrial park

9:55 p.m. Council talking with Town Planner Chris Spencer and Economic Development Commission Chairman Len Schmidt about customary practices conducted to attract new businesses into town, citing the recent success of Tom's Market. They are also talking about marketing the industrial park.

Spencer reports that DiPrete Engineering's master plan and concept plan were approved by the Tiverton Planning Board, and, with engineering, roadway and drainage system work currently going on, a final plan review is still needed.

Spencer added that Planning Board is waiting council response on whether they can hold a hearing on the proposed 'floating zone' for the industrial park.

10:05 p.m. Council votes 4-2 to set a public hearing of April 27 for zoning amendments to the industrial park. Nelson and Chabot oppose.

10:20 p.m. Council votes 6-0 to designate Trailer Avenue as "not a platted road," receiving no DPW services except rubbish collection at Last Street.

10:25 p.m. Council votes 6-0 to award contract for broker services on Nonquit School and old Ranger School to H&H Real Estate LLC, of Middletown.

10:27 p.m. Councl votes 6-0 to award a contract to Horner Millworks for replacement of the town administrator's office window.

10:29 p.m. Council votes 6-0 to approve awarding a contract in the to work in a Voting District Project for Tiverton to Election Data Services, Inc.

10:59 p.m. Council votes 6-0 to go into executive to discuss various litigation.

To watch full-length Tiverton Town Council and School Committee meetings, go to http://www.tivertonvideos.blogspot.com.

jon devolve March 19, 2012 at 10:45 PM
Jim, I agree with you. Although, my last name is Devolve and not Desolve. Not sure if that was a poke at me or not but nonetheless, funny. Just realize that there are people trying to help, trying to make sure that every student gets the quality education they deserve. Comparing our school system to others does not solve the problem. There are many differences between every school district and when the grass seems greener, well... So instead of being negative and responding in ways that are not helpful, join a committee to make sure the RIGHT thing is done for everyone.
Joe Sousa. March 20, 2012 at 12:21 AM
"The most obvious way to rig the FTR is for the council to veto the levy chosen by voters, a power that is granted to them by the FTR." A power that is granted to our elected Town Council through a charter change voted in by the people. What really bothers you is a few hundred people, many who profit from the town levy, cant control it anymore. The people made this change with an informed vote. The FTR committee did a wonderful job and cleaned your clock. We are continuing the Democratic tradition of one man, or woman, one vote. God Bless America
Tiverton Dad March 20, 2012 at 05:05 PM
This is also a power that proponents of the FTR, including Joe, repeatedly claimed did not exist until after the election was over. Again, I am amused by the assumptions made about my motives. I said repeatedly that I am in favor of a budget referendum--just not this flawed concept. The democratic tradition of one man, one woman, one vote will fly right out the window the first time the council doesn't like the outcome of the FTR. Then it will be seven men and women, one vote. TCC democracy.
Joe Sousa. March 20, 2012 at 06:24 PM
I supported the FTR and the Check and Balance of the council vote . I was vocal about it at every opportunity .You lie again in your diatribe about people not knowing. The people knew exactly what they were doing.
jon devolve March 20, 2012 at 09:57 PM
Jim, what do you want out of the school system?

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