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Sunday, June 2, 2019

Charlestown Dems call for "no" vote in June 3 budget referendum

Charlestown Democrats blast proposed town budget over “$3 million taxpayer rip-off”
By the Charlestown Democratic Town Committee

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Put the taxpayers and first responders first
On June 3, Charlestown voters will be asked to turn out for the Town’s Budget Referendum.

Included in the town’s budget is a $3 million “blank check” for construction, supposedly for a “community center” in Ninigret Park, even though Charlestown already has a community center in the park.

The Charlestown Democratic Town Committee (CDTC) voted unanimously to oppose this budget because the Town Council, dominated by the Charlestown Citizens Alliance (CCA), chose to use a rare $3 million dollar surplus to fund an unnecessary project with no plan or detail.

Taxpayer-funded budget up for approval on June 3: $16,984,199

Amount that would be earmarked for "community center" WITHOUT plans or designs:  $3,095,000

Percentage of budget taken up by "community center": 18%

Cost of this "community center" to each of these households: $1,066

The CDTC also noted the existing community center is in fine condition but is underused.

“Why commit $3 million to a new community center when we could use those funds to give working families in Charlestown some well-deserved tax relief? That $3 million dollars is OUR money, not toy money to be used for some CCA slush fund,” said CDTC chair Cathy Collette. 

Dems suggest using the money to help recruit more volunteer
firefighters by at least offering them a property tax break
The CCA proposal is devoid of detail – we don’t know if they are even aware of the existing community center.”

“Returning the $3 million to the taxpayers by lowering taxes is just one of many ways that money could be better used,” Collette continued. 
Related image
The existing Charlestown Community Center is equipped
with a modern commercial sized and equipped kitchen.

“Our police department needs more support. We could help recruit and retain more volunteer fire-fighters by offering them a property tax credit like several other Rhode Island towns such as Jamestown and Bristol. Instead, the CCA is asking voters to put their hard-earned money into a vague and unneeded pipe dream.”

If Charlestown voters reject the proposed town budget on June 3, the town will operate on its existing budget until the budget is re-written and approved.

Cathy Collette said “The smart thing to do is vote to reject the budget on June 3. Make them re-write it to either lower taxes by $3 million or come up with a more sensible plan that will benefit the taxpayers.”

All voting for all districts will take place at Town Hall. Polls open at 8 AM and close at 8 PM.