By Elizabeth F. McNamara
On Tuesday, Nov. 5, East Greenwich registered voters get to decide the fate of two bond questions, the only items on this off-year election: a $5 million school bond for capital maintenance and safety issues and a $4.5 town bond for improvements to the wastewater treatment plant. Both bonds will be paid back over 20 years.
There is only ONE POLLING PLACE: Swift Community Center.
The wastewater treatment plant bond would pay for the 35-year-old plant’s continued overhaul. A $6 million bond in 2015 paid for the first phase of plant replacements.
The school bond covers a myriad of capital maintenance projects, including many items related to school safety. School officials say it is a very good time to borrow money because the state is reimbursing such spending at a rate between 35 percent and 52 percent.
In recent days, police have removed political signs that have appeared on school properties around the town. It’s unclear who is behind the signs, which urge residents to vote no on the school bond. In a tweet, the EG Republican Town Committee suggested the town did not seek permission from the General Assembly before holding the referendum.
Town Manager Andy Nota said town police have been told to remove any political signs on public property. He said while political signs were fine on private property, they did not belong on public land. Nota also took strong issue with the @EG_GOP tweet.
“It is concerning to me that some within the community using social media and possibly other means would spread information that would lead some to believe that the community should be under state fiscal control,” he said. “In spite of recent municipal challenges felt in many corners of this community over the past two years, the community remains fiscally strong and actions are being taken now by the administration and supported by the Town Council to strengthen and stabilize the fiscal integrity of the entire community.”
School Committee member Alyson Powell, who chairs the facilities committee, said their efforts have been on educating voters about the bond.
“We want to make sure residents understand what they’re voting on,” she said. The district has posted the list of projects to be undertaken if the bond passes, as well as an instructional video.
One last thing: if you are unable to vote on Tuesday, you can cast an “emergency” ballot at the Town Clerk’s office at Town Hall on Monday between 8:30 at 4 (sharp cutoff, fyi). You don’t need an excuse. It’s early voting by another name!