FTM Lives On; Road Bond, Charter Changes Approved

by | Nov 5, 2014

They may not attend the Financial Town Meeting, but voters Tuesday weren’t ready to eliminate it, with just over half the electorate, 51 percent, rejecting Question 8.

The question asked voters to approve eliminating the FTM and extending the time allowed to approve a budget. Currently, the Town Council must approve a budget by May 15 and it must go before the voters at an FTM on the second Tuesday in June.

The meeting must reach a quorum of 250 registered voters – something that has not happened since 1999 – otherwise the budget as presented passes into law.

“It’s disappointing,” said Council President Michael Isaacs, who won reelection Tuesday. “I supported abolition in light of the lack of quorums. Maybe we could have done a better job explaining our rationale but there will be an FTM in June this year.”

Bill Stone, who won a seat on the council Tuesday, said he also was in favor of eliminating the FTM.

“It seems like an effort we don’t need to go through. Moreover, with the Town Council being reelected every two years, if folks don’t like what we’re doing with the budget they can always make a change,” he said. “But apparently people like it. They voted for it, they want it. I hope all the people who voted for it show up at the next town meeting.”

The FTM costs about $2,000 annually.

The $2 million road bond (Question 11) passed much more decisively, getting 83 percent of the vote.

“I think people understood if they wanted the roads fixed very quickly, this was the best way to do that,” said Isaacs. “I think they also recognized now’s a good time to borrow money for the town.”

Isaacs had said before Election Day the reason for the bond was because road work had been put off during the economic recession. He called the bond a chance to “catch up.”

It’s unclear just how far that $2 million will go. The first road on the town’s list is Shippee Road, according to Public Works director Joe Duarte.

The two ballot questions (9 and 10) that dealt with the charter also passed by wide margins. Question 9 asked voters to approve including the new EG Fire Department in the Town Charter. It became part of the town in June 2013, but still needed voter authorization to be regulated by the charter as happens with the EG Police Department. It passed 75 percent to 25 percent.

Question 10 asked voters to approve changes to the charter to correct “minor, non-substantive errors.” It passed 80 percent to 20 percent.

Catherine Streich, a senior at East Greenwich High School, is a reporter for East Greenwich News.

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Heather Larkin
Heather Larkin
November 5, 2014 5:57 pm

For the love of Pete, half the voters wanted to keep FTM?! I’ll go again this year but I’m sure I won’t have trouble finding a seat. It’s shameful that the Council et al have to put in all those hours on the budget and finish it sitting in the auditorium doing nothing on a June evening.

Concerned Parent
Concerned Parent
November 6, 2014 7:10 am

I have to say I voted to keep it in and encouraged others to as well as an option of getting full day K into the proposed budget in the event for some reason it is not in the budget approved by town council. I felt we need to keep every option available open.

Heather Tibbitts
Heather Tibbitts
November 6, 2014 1:03 pm

I am curious as to what percentage of eligible voters turned out in EG. Nationwide it was only 36.6%. RI did slightly better at 41.7%, but that’s still a long way from where it should be. (Numbers source: United States Election Project)

Elizabeth McNamara
November 6, 2014 3:33 pm

Good question. We had 48 percent turnout here in East Greenwich. Not bad, comparatively!

Heather Larkin
Heather Larkin
November 6, 2014 2:54 pm

That was a short sighted decision.
You do realize that full day K is coming, right? It’s been on the radar for years but the list of needs has been long the last decade and other projects took higher priority. And you might remember the years the School Department was level funded? When we were talking about getting rid of French district wide? The SC managed to keep vigorous performing arts, visual arts and foreign language programs during very difficult economic times and then slowly start to make improvements throughout the district. No one has EVER said full day K was a bad idea. I would hope that whatever your opinion of the proposed town budget is, you get 249 of your friends to at least show up and participate as long as we have to continue to put on the show.

I live in East Greenwich
I live in East Greenwich
November 7, 2014 8:10 am
Reply to  Heather Larkin

I voted to keep it because I would like to keep an option to raise my voice publicly. The good idea remains as a good idea today…

November 7, 2014 10:11 am

You do realize you can raise your voice publicly at every town council meeting? So you don’t need to keep the FTM to do so. There are multiple meetings April-June where you can let the TC know if there’s something in the budget that should be tweaked.

I live in East Greenwich
I live in East Greenwich
November 7, 2014 2:29 pm
Reply to  RB

Yes I do realize that. We raised our voice at SC meetings, we didn’t hear a sound. TC may act the same one day. It will be a different story if we bring 250 people to the FTM…

November 6, 2014 6:19 pm

Not to change the subject but do you know which roads after Shippee are going to be paved?

Elizabeth McNamara
November 6, 2014 10:32 pm
Reply to  Steph

I don’t … but I’ll see what I can find out. Do you have any suggestions?


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