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Sunday, September 11, 2016

What if they had a Council meeting and no one came?

Really light agenda for Monday meeting
By Will Collette

Truck
NOT up for discussion: the resignation of Ray Dussault as Town Sergeant. A great guy
and public servant, Ray's great passion has been the fight against cancer. Here's
part of the Colors for a Cause fire truck that Ray used to generate support for
the struggle.
Charlestown Town Council meetings stopped being interesting after the 2014 election when the Charlestown Citizens Alliance (CCA Party) captured every Council seat. Now, you can reliably predict that nothing gets on the agenda that hasn’t been pre-authorized by at the secret monthly meetings of the CCA Party Steering Committee.

Members of the public can still stand up to argue against the CCA agenda, but they’re betting against the house that they can win.

This isn't going to change after the November election since there is only one non-CCA person on the ballot. However, we will no longer have Council Boss Tom Gentz or his Sancho Panza George Tremblay. Both have decided not to run for re-election.

The only good thing about CCA Party hegemony is short meetings. The Sun’s Catherine Hewitt summed it up in four paragraph long article entitled “Short agenda on Monday for Charlestown council

As usual, I have reproduced the agenda in full below the fold.

The two main marquee items are new ordinances on tax breaks. One ordinance would expand the town’s current property tax credit to cover all honorably discharged veterans, rather than those who served during wartime.

It’s a nice idea, but won’t actually affect many vets. Under current law, the definition of periods of wartime is so expansive that it would be hard NOT to have served during a time of war. For example, we have been at war continually since September 11, 2001.

Click here to read about Charlestown’s current tax breaks for veterans.

Unless this is simply for show, my best guess is that some friend, relative or donor of the CCA Party must have somehow managed to fall outside the time window to qualify.

The other ordinance will create a new business tax credit estimated to be worth approximately $100. Sure, great idea, but how much do Charlestown businesses have to lay out to meet the mandates of the Charlestown Planning Commission? It costs business big bucks to meet Planning Commissar Ruth Platner's mandates on lighting, parking, building designs, trees, shrubbery, shingles, dormers, electrical outlet covers, etc.

I have long proposed an alternative way to help small Charlestown businesses. Whenever Charlestown passes new ordinances or regulations impacting small business, they should offset the costs of those mandates through tax credits. 

There is a gross omission in the Council’s Monday night agenda. If you scan down to the “Consent Agenda” or “CA” items, you will see that one of the nicest and most helpful guys in town government, Ray Dussault, has resigned as Town Sergeant effective August 6.

Rather than being up top of the agenda as a formal part of the program, Ray gets a little mention. 

Usually, when a well-known and popular person like Ray steps down, the Council does better than just pass him off as a footnote, as part of the “consent agenda” which isn’t even discussed.

Well, I wish Ray all the best and thank him for his many years of loyal service to the town and people of Charlestown.

Here’s the official agenda.



Charlestown Town Council

Regular Meeting
9/12/2016 7:00 PM 
Council Chambers

Town Hall   4540 South County Trail   Charlestown, RI 02813
CALL TO ORDER, Moment of Silence, Pledge of Allegiance
ROLL CALL
Roll Call
APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS
A. Swearing in of Officer Christopher Bruso as Detective in the Charlestown Police Department


a.
COUNCIL COMMENTS
PUBLIC COMMENT for items not on the Agenda
COMMUNICATIONS
A. Discussion and Potential Action Concerning a Communication Received from Patty Ready and Nancy Ringler Regarding Twin Peaks Preservation Stroll 2016




a.
b.
ADMINISTRATOR and COMMISSION REPORTS
A. Administrator Report - Don't bother clicking - the Town Administrator doesn't include his report in the posted agenda. He works for the Council, not for you.




B. Commission Reports
ANNOUNCEMENTS




a.
PUBLIC HEARINGS
A. Public Hearing and Potential Action Regarding Ordinance #373 – Chapter 192 Taxation, Article X – Additional Veterans Exemption




a.
b.
c.
Motion to open the Public Hearing
Motion to close the Public Hearing
B. Public Hearing and Potential Action Regarding Ordinance #374 – Chapter 192 Taxation, Article XI – Additional Business Tangible Property Exemption




a.
b.
c.
Motion to open the Public Hearing
Motion to close the Public Hearing
CONSENT AGENDA
Motion to accept, approve and place on file the following as the consent agenda: “CA” A - “CA” Q
"CA" A. Council Minutes


a.


a.


a.
"CA" B. Reports:


a.


a.


a.
b.


a.


a.
“CA” C. Approval of the Following Events at Ninigret Park with a Recommendation from the Parks and Recreation Commission, Subject to Review of Contracts by the Town Solicitor, Receipt of All Applicable Paperwork and Insurance and that All Event Details Are Satisfactorily Met by the Parks and Recreation Director:




a.
b.
"CA" D. Discussion and Potential Action Regarding the Approval of an Application for a Peddler’s License from C & C Vittles on the Go, Subject to Receipt of All Required Paperwork and Approvals


a.
b.
c.
"CA" E. Reappointment to the Affordable Housing Commission: Sandra K. Puchalski, Term to Expire in September of 2019


a.
"CA" F. Reappointments to the Economic Improvement Commission: Betty J. Combs and Dominic A. DellaVolpe, Terms to Expire in September of 2019


a.
b.
“CA” G. Appointment of John Dobson to the Chariho RYSE Building Committee




a.
"CA" H. Acceptance of the Resignation of Raymond M. Dussault as Town Sergeant with Regret


a.
"CA" I. Acceptance of the Resignation of Richard E. Horstmann from the Parks and Recreation Commission with Regret


a.
"CA" J. Acceptance of the Resignation of James Cole from the Wood-Pawcatuck Watershed Association's Wild & Scenic Committee with Regret




a.
"CA" K. Approval of the Addendum to the Municipal Solid Waste and Recycling Services Agreement Between the Town of Charlestown and RIRRC for the Fiscal Years 2015-2017, Addressing Three Items: Over the Cap Fees, Mattresses and Box Springs, and Tires, and Authorization of the Town Administrator and Town Treasurer, Each, to Take Any and All Such Actions, and Execute and Deliver Such Certificates, Receipts or Other Documents as May be Necessary to Carry into Effect the Foregoing, or Any Action Relative Thereto




a.
"CA" L. Approval of the Recommendation from the Public Works Director that the Remainder of the Funds in the Capital DPW Asphalt Resurfacing Account (01.990.9961.000) be Available to Extend the Mileage of Improved Roads, Using the Cost-Per-Square Yard Price, with the Total Cost Not to Exceed the Budgeted Amount of $250,000.00, and Authorization of the Town Administrator and Town Treasurer, Each, to Take Any and All Such Actions, and Execute and Deliver Such Certificates, Receipts or Other Documents as May be Necessary to Carry into Effect the Foregoing, or Any Action Relative Thereto




a.
b.
"CA" M. Award of the Survey and Engineering Bid for the Culvert Replacement for (So-Called) Straight Brook Culvert Under Kings Factory Road to Dowdell Engineering for an Amount Not to Exceed $16,940.00, as Budgeted in Line Item 77.000.51000.000, and Authorization of the Town Administrator and Town Treasurer, Each, to Take Any and All Such Actions, and Execute and Deliver Such Certificates, Receipts or Other Documents as May be Necessary to Carry into Effect the Foregoing, or Any Other Action Relative Thereto




a.
b.
c.
"CA" N. Approval of Repair Items for the Slidewinder and Trolley Playground Equipment in Ninigret Park in the Amount of $975.70, to be Paid from the Ninigret Park Fund (27.000.5100), and Authorization of the Town Administrator and Town Treasurer, Each, to Take Any and All Such Actions, and Execute and Deliver Such Certificates, Receipts or Other Documents as May be Necessary to Carry into Effect the Foregoing, or Any Action Relative Thereto




a.
b.
c.
"CA" O. Request from the Tax Assessor for Abatements in the Amount of $5116.31


a.
b.
c.
"CA" P. Discussion and Potential Action Regarding the Purchase of a 2016 AWD Ford Utility Interceptor from MHQ Municipal Vehicles and Equipped with a Computer System from DMY, LLC for an Amount Not to Exceed $32,930.00, as Budgeted in Line Item 01.990.9991 and 490.4950.455, and Authorization of the Town Administrator and Town Treasurer, Each, to Take Any and All Such Actions, and Execute and Deliver Such Certificates, Receipts or Other Documents as May be Necessary to Carry into Effect the Foregoing, or Any Other Action Relative Thereto


a.
b.
"CA" Q. Approval of Naming the Town Treasurer as the Trustee of the Charlestown Bi-Centennial Trust and Requesting the Town Solicitor to Re-Write New Trust Document

NOTE: I found this item to be amusing (which says a lot about my warped sense of humor).

Charlestown created a Bicentennial Trust in 1978 for some reason and deposited $200 with Washington Trust. 

The balance has since grown to $2,200. Town Administrator Mark Stankiewicz noticed this trust and decided to try to boost its income by moving it into a different account. However, whereas Washington Trust wasn't charging a management fee when the balance was small, now that it's grown to $2,200, they want to charge that fee. 

Oops. 

Stankiewicz wants to pull the cash out of Washington Trust and stick it in Town Treasurer Pat Anderson's couch cushions. Here's a thought: why not just spend the $2,200 on something consistent with the Trust's purpose?




a.
b.
ADJOURNMENT