FINANCIAL TOWN MEETING
JAMESTOWN, RHODE ISLAND
MARCH 3, 2003
The annual Financial Town Meeting was called to order by Susan Q. Romano, Town Moderator, at 7:00 PM at the Jamestown School, 55 Lawn Avenue. The following Town Council members were present:
Guy J. Settipane, President
David A. Swain, Vice President
Kenneth G. Littman
David J. Long
Norma B. Willis
As well as School Committee members:
Catherine L. Kaiser, Chair
William C. Brennan
Elizabeth H. Gooding
Also present were:
Maryanne Crawford, CPA, Town Administrator
Arlene D. Kalooski, Town Clerk
Christina D. Collins, Deputy Finance Director
Douglas DeSimone, Esq., Town Solicitor
Fred Pease, Town Sergeant
Katherine E. Sipala, School Superintendent
The Town Moderator set out the order of the meeting. There was a motion made and seconded to waive the reading of the warrant and resolutions. There being no request for discussion, the motion was put to a voice vote, which clearly carried.
GUY J. SETTIPANE, TOWN COUNCIL PRESIDENT
Town Council President Guy J. Settipane presented the annual town and school budget for the fiscal year 2003/2004 to the 140 qualified electors (eventual number), in the amount of $15,590,052.00. President Settipane informed the assembly that the new budget consists of the general government budget in the amount of $5,958,643.00 and the school budget in the amount of $9,631,409.00. President Settipane noted that there has been a 21% increase in high school tuition from the Town of North Kingstown. President Settipane stated that the new budget, as presented, represents a property tax rate increase of 4.65%.
President Settipane addressed Resolution #5, requesting support to the change in the date of the Town’s fiscal year. Further stating that by changing the date of our fiscal year, the Town will be in line with budget guidelines at the State and Federal level. Additionally, President Settipane stated that a summer time Financial Town Meeting should make it easier for all residents to attend.
President Settipane reviewed several areas in the budget that experienced increases such as, the funding for an additional Police Officer, noting that it has been more than ten years since this staffing has been increased; funding for the purchase of a fire rescue/boat and a new ambulance; funding for an engineering assessment of all town buildings and planning for a new town hall; funding for continued efforts to purchase property to protect our drinking water; and funding for the improvement of recreation facilities.
President Settipane commended the School Committee in their efforts to reduce spending and its willingness to apply funds from their own unreserved fund to counteract the North Kingstown tuition increases.
Council President Settipane stated that voter approval of the Town Budget for 2003/2004 would guarantee that the continued public health, safety and welfare needs of the community are met and further the excellence in education.
CATHERINE L. KAISER, SCHOOL COMMITTEE CHAIR
Catherine L. Kaiser, School Committee Chair welcomed the new school Superintendent Katherine Sipala to her first Financial Town Meeting. Ms. Kaiser stated that the School Committee has presented a fiscally responsible budget. Ms. Kaiser noted that the School Committee has committed a major portion of their unreserved funds to the budget as revenue in an attempt to reduce the Town’s contribution. Ms. Kaiser expressed her concern with the increase in the school budget due to Federal and State mandated programs that are unfunded or underfunded and requested that the community join with the School Committee to work with neighboring School Committees and legislatures to counter those mandates. Ms. Kaiser reported that the Jamestown School Committee has organized a legislative committee to represent the interests of South County school districts and members of this committee are scheduled to testify before the House Finance Committee and the Board of State Funding of Mandated Regional Transportation.
The Town Moderator reviewed the rules for an orderly meeting and opened the meeting for comments.
It was moved by Council President Settipane, seconded by Councilor Littman to adopt, as presented, the 2003/2004 Town budget.
The Moderator called for discussion.
There being no discussion the Town Moderator called for a vote on the motion. A voice vote was taken and the motion unanimously carried.
The Town Moderator called for a motion to adopt the School Budget.
It was moved by Katherine Kaiser, School Committee Chair, seconded by Councilor Long to adopt the 2003/2004 School Budget. There being no discussion, the Moderator called for a vote to adopt the School Budget. A voice vote was taken whereby the motion unanimously carried.
It was moved by Council President Settipane, seconded by Councilor Littman to adopt the combined Town and School Budget for 2003/2004 as presented. There being no discussion, the voice vote was taken and the motion unanimously carried.
The Moderator called for voting on the Resolutions.
It was moved by Councilor Long, seconded by Councilor Swain to approve Resolution Number 1 - Sewer Line Frontage Tax Rate. There being no discussion, a voice vote was taken and the motion unanimously carried.
It was moved by Councilor Swain, seconded by Councilor Littman to approve Resolution Number 2 - Borrowing in Anticipation of Taxes. There being no discussion, a voice vote was taken and the motion unanimously carried.
It was moved by Councilor Willis, seconded by Council President Settipane to approve Resolution Number 3 - Disposition of Collected Back Taxes. There being no discussion, a voice vote was taken and the motion unanimously carried.
It was moved by Councilor Littman, seconded by Councilor Long to approve Resolution Number 4 - Setting the Tax Rate on the ratable real estate and tangible personal property in the sum not less than $12,475,976.00 or not less than $13.90 and not more than $14.01 per Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) of assessed valuation. There being no discussion, a voice vote was taken and the motion unanimously carried.
It was moved by Council President Settipane, seconded by Councilor Willis to adopt Resolution Number 5 – Change in the Date of the Fiscal Year. There being no discussion, a voice vote was taken and the motion unanimously carried.
Council President Settipane presented a Proclamation to Susan Romano honoring her honesty, commitment to duty and years of dedicated service to the Town of Jamestown.
It was moved and seconded to adjourn the annual Financial Town Meeting at 7:33 PM. The motion unanimously carried.
Arlene D. Kalooski