On November Ballot: Abolish FTM? Borrow $2 Million To Fix Roads?

by | Jul 30, 2014

town hall

The Town Council voted 5-0 in favor of ballot questions addressing three changes to the Town Charter and whether or not to borrow $2 million to fix roads at a meeting Monday night. The questions will appear on the Nov. 4 general election ballot.

The biggest of the ballot questions on the charter would be whether or not to abolish the Financial Town Meeting, a yearly assembly where East Greenwich electors vote on the budget passed by the Town Council – if there’s a quorum. That’s a big “if.”

The ballot question will read:

(1) Should the Charter be amended to eliminate the Financial Town Meeting and to extend the time within which the Town Council must adopt an annual budget?

In recent years, the number of people who actually attend the FTM has dwindled. The meeting in June brought out a mere 35 electors. A quorum 250 registered voters is required to even open the meeting and that number hasn’t been met in more than a decade. Without a quorum, the Town Council’s budget and any attached warrant articles become final.

Charter question #2 deals with the town’s acquisition in June 2013 of the East Greenwich Fire District and the subsequent establishment of an EG Fire Department in its place:

(2) Should the Charter be amended to provide for a Town Fire Department now that the East Greenwich Fire District has been acquired by the Town?

It would bring the charter up to date on town departments.

The final charter question – (3) Should the Charter be amended to correct minor, non-substantive errors identified by the publisher of the Town Charter? – would allow typos in the charter to be fixed without having electors vote on those fixes.

The other ballot question asks voters to approve borrowing up to $2 million to fix roads in town. The bond would authorize the town to finance “construction, renovation, rehabilitation, repair, improvement and landscaping of roads, sidewalks and drainage facilities in the town….”

In recent years, the town has allotted smaller sums of money to repave specific roads in town, but Public Works Director Joe Duarte has been asking for a more comprehensive spending plan for several years now.

What road or sidewalk do you think needs fixing first? Let us know in the comments.

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