FINANCIAL TOWN MEETING
  JAMESTOWN, RHODE ISLAND

  March 3, 1997

The annual financial town meeting was called to order by Gloria Dahl,
Esq., Town Moderator, at 7:10 PM at the Jamestown School, 55 Lawn Avenue.
The following Town Council members were present:
  Fred F. Pease, Council President
  Paul A. Robertson, Vice President
  Richard A. Hines
  Mark E. Liberati
  Steven M. McInnis

As well as School Committee members:
  Sirje Carl, Chair
  Julio DiGiando
  Lisa Rafferty
  William Reynolds
  Susan Romano

Also present were:
  Frances H. Shocket, Town Administrator
  Theresa C. Donovan, CMC, Town Clerk
  Maryanne Crawford, Finance Director
  James A. Donnelly, Esq., Town Solicitor
  Richard J. Rembijas, Town Sergeant
   Dr. Frances Gallo, School Superintendent
  Helen O'Hara, Director of Pupil Services
  Dureen Bryer, School Business Manager

Motion by Councilor Robertson and seconded to waive the reading of the
warrant and its resolutions (copy attached hereto) since they were printed
in their entirety in the budget handout as printed in the February 13,
1997 issue of The Jamestown Press.
     There being no request for discussion, motion was put to a voice
vote, which carried unanimously.

Council President Pease addressed the assembly of ninety nine qualified
electors (eventual total: one hundred four): the budget being presented
requires a tax rate of $14.42 per thousand, the same as last year;
although spending is up 1.6%, the level tax rate is a result of three
factors: assessed property valuation has increased, interest on
investments has been realized, and department revenues have increased; the
proposed budget still includes the funding of ongoing and future needs;
the proposal is fair, fiscally conservative and financially sound, and we
urge your support; we are grateful for the talents and efforts of the Town
Administrator, Finance Director, all of the department directors and those
citizens who attended and participated in the budget work sessions;
specific thanks are due to Councilors Liberati and Hines for all their
contributions, this being their last financial town meeting as Council
members.

School Committee Chair Carl addressed the assembly: The proposed increases
in the budget are due mostly to an increase in student enrollment;
included are new teachers for the fifth and sixth grades (one each) and
one physical education teacher due to increased enrollment, also resulting
in a need for additional materials, classrooms and furniture; the budget
also includes a Spanish language teacher, in response to the community's
support for offering a second language to seventh and eighth graders; we
have received another Champlin grant for computers; the very successful
programs of Chance to Dance and Odyssey of the Mind are continuing; we
have a new jazz band, which competed statewide after only four months; we
need volunteers in many capacities as tutors for all subjects and all are
welcome; our former principal/superintendent Phyllis Schmidt retired in
January after 17 years; we have since hired Dr. Frances Gallo to replace
her; we will have superintendent's forums throughout the year for
comments, complaints, criticism and compliments; we ask for your support
of both the school and town budgets.

The Moderator stated it was her sixth and final financial town meeting,
that attendance was 702 six years ago, 130 last year (which was the lowest
in five years) and tonight there are 99; she announced the ground rules
for the meeting: speakers must go to microphone, and state their name and
address for the record; be courteous, concise and considerate, while
confining your remarks to the pending motion or amendment; although our
meeting is guided by parliamentary procedure, we are bound by RI General
Laws, which may differ ie.
     a member of the floor cannot call the question (anyone wishing to be
heard on pending matter must be heard); voice votes will be requested,
with a show of hands or standing (division of the house), if necessary.)

Motion by Councilor McInnis and seconded to adopt the total Town
Government budget for a total amount $4,807,886.00.

Dennis W. Nixon: I propose, under the category of general government, an
expenditure not exceeding $5,000 to perform a study on the feasibility of
the financial town meeting as the best method for funding the Town of
Jamestown's operations; after attending these meetings for the last
nineteen years, I have been holding back this motion for the last decade;
in a town of almost 6,000 people,  this $10 million budget could be
decided upon by only 99 people; for 300 years, this system has served us
well; today, however, because of important changes in the law, including
the Open Meetings Act, along with a Town Manager form of government (which
has done a superb job in preparing this budget) and thorough coverage by
our local newspaper, there is no excuse for a member of the community who
has a concern about the budget not to attend one of the budget work
sessions; I am not suggesting abolishment of the financial town meeting
tonight, but a budget of this size being decided by 99 residents is not
the best form; I have missed some financial town meetings because of
conflicting professional commitments, but I have never missed a general
election; I trust the people I voted for; if I do not like what they do
while in office, I have the opportunity to vote them out; I feel it is far
more democratic that the people that most of the town voted for make the
decisions, rather than the 99 people here tonight.
     I move to amend the motion to appropriate money not to exceed $5,000
for a study only, as to the feasibility of financial town meetings in the
future.

Moderator: If approved, will this motion affect the tax rate? Council
President Pease: Yes, by one additional cent.
     Motion was seconded. There being no discussion, the motion to amend
was put to a voice vote, the results of which were indiscernible.
     The Moderator proceeded to direct voting by division of the house,
which indicated that the motion to amend was clearly defeated, returning
the assembly to the main motion on the floor.

There being no further request for discussion, motion was put to a voice
vote, which carried unanimously.

Motion by Councilor Liberati and seconded to approve the total School
Department budget of $5,797,300.00.

Peter A. Carnevale asked for clarification of the capital improvement
budget. Councilor McInnis noted that this year's budget is zero.

There being no further request for discussion, motion was put to a voice
vote, which carried unanimously.

Motion by Councilor Liberati and seconded to approve the proposed Town
Government budget and the proposed School Department budget in their
totality for a grand total of $10,605,186.00.  There being no request for
discussion, motion was put to a voice vote, which clearly carried.

Motion by Councilor Robertson and seconded to waive the reading of the
resolutions, with the exception of the tax rate.
     There being no request for discussion, motion was put to a voice
vote, which carried unanimously.

Motion by Councilor McInnis and seconded to approve Resolutions #1 (sewer
line frontage tax rate of $.55 per linear foot), #2 (borrowing in
anticipation of taxes not to exceed $1,000,000) and #3 (disposition of
collected back taxes) as printed in the budget handout.
     There being no request for discussion, motion was put to a voice
vote, which carried unanimously.

Motion by Councilor McInnis and seconded to approve Resolution #4 (setting
the tax rate) by inserting figures in the blanks to read "...collection of
a tax on the ratable real estate and tangible personal property in the sum
not less than $9,173,345.00, or not less than $14.42, nor more than $14.67
 per thousand dollars of assessed valuation...." (full resolution read
aloud).

John H. Flinton: There is an excessive amount of surplus in the Town
coffers through savings and excellent management, which is close to $1
million; that is not the Town's money; rather, it belongs to the citizens
through overpayment in prior years; it is excessive to carry such a large
surplus.
     I move to amend the motion that one half of the remaining surplus be
rebated to the residents to reduce this year's taxes. Motion seconded.

Councilor Liberati: The Fiscal Advisory Group for municipalities
recommends maintaining a surplus of 10% of the budget, which is exactly
what we have; I have been around long enough to have been through very
lean times; the idea of accumulating a surplus in good times is appealing
as a cushion against future critical needs which occur during times when
we can less afford them; the money is earning interest; I would
strenuously oppose the amendment.
     Councilor McInnis: I agree completely with Councilor Liberati; there
are two line items in this budget where we are spending some of that
surplus in order to keep the tax rate level: $65,000 for the Town
Government budget and $69,500 for the School Department budget.
     Mr. Flinton: I understand your sentiments, but it is not your money
to keep; it should be the voters' decision; future expenditures should be
considered as they come up on an agenda.
     Councilor Liberati: The question is whether or not to use the surplus
to reduce taxes this year; the Town operates as a corporation; this amount
of cushion is fair, reasonable and not arbitrary, and in fact, follows the
nationally recognized standard.

Robert P. Ritacco: What is the interest rate being earned on that money?
Councilor McInnis: The amount of cash the Town has on hand at any one time
varies; the Finance Director says it is between 5% and 5.25%; by law,
municipal investments must be in fully secured instruments, which keeps
the interest rate down.

There being no further discussion, the motion to amend was put to a voice
vote, which was clearly defeated, returning the assembly to the main
motion on the floor.

There being no request for discussion, motion was put to a voice vote,
which carried unanimously.

There being no further business before the assembly, motion made and
seconded to adjourn the Financial Town Meeting at 7:42  PM. So voted.

Attest:

Theresa C. Donovan, CMC
Town Clerk

cc:  Town Council Members (5)
Town Administrator
Town Solicitor
Finance Director
School Committee
Administrative Circulation

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