FINANCIAL TOWN MEETING

JAMESTOWN, RHODE ISLAND

March 2, 1998

The annual financial town meeting was called to order by Eric F. Archer,
Esq., Town Moderator, at 7:05 PM at the Jamestown School, 55 Lawn Avenue.
The following Town Council members were present:
Craig A. Amerigian, President
David E. Dolce, Vice President
William H. Murphy
Fred F. Pease
Ellicott Wright

As well as School Committee members:
Sirje Carl, Chair
Susan Quinn Romano, Vice Chair
Laura E. Clarke
Donna T. Patterson
William H. Reynolds, Jr.

Also present were:
Maryanne Crawford, CPA, Interim Town Administrator/Finance Director
Theresa C. Donovan, CMC, Town Clerk
Quentin Anthony, Esq., Town Solicitor
Charles F. McSoley, Town Sergeant
Dr. Frances Gallo, School Superintendent
Helen O'Hara, Director of Pupil Services
Dureen J. Bryer, School Business Manager

The Moderator defined the order of the meeting.
     Motion made and seconded to waive the reading of the warrant and
resolutions.
     There being no request for discussion, motion was put to a voice
vote, which clearly carried.

Council President Amerigian addressed the assembly of one hundred ninety
two (192; eventual total) qualified electors; he stated the budget
represented an overall increase in spending of 8.9% over last year; that
would result in a tax rate of $15.13 per thousand, or a 4.9% increase in
the tax rate; there has been no tax increase for the past 3 years;
inflation has been between 2 and 3% over the last few years; spending for
the municipal government operations has increased 2.6%, due primarily to
increases in health benefits premiums and contractual labor rates; the
cost of debt service has decreased 19%; although the capital improvement
budget is up considerably, that is due primarily to the allotment of
$300,000 for a new  highway barn and the unanticipated expenditure for
underground storage tank site remediation at the Southwest Avenue
property; a new barn is badly needed, along with the State's impending
plans for Fort Wetherill; this need has been anticipated for some time,
and needs to be addressed now for uninterrupted services; Council is
recommending both expenditures come from the reserve fund; the remaining
balance will still be safe, according to nationally recognized standards;
the amounts included in Resolutions 1 and 2 are  relatively small, but
this is a  better alternative to borrowing; he urged support for what
Council considers to be a  fair proposal; it is a conservative approach to
maintain the level of services currently supplied; the spending plan is
fiscally sound.
     He then announced that South County Hospital would be conducting a
meningitis vaccination clinic at North Kingstown High School on Saturday,
March 7 from 9:00 AM until 3:00 PM for Jamestown and North Kingstown
residents.

School Committee Chair Carl addressed the assembly, stating enrollment has
increased during the last year from 657 to 668, and they are expecting an
increase again in September; the new budget format is consistent with all
districts; most line items have stayed the same or gone down; benefits
went up almost 19%; foreign language programs are active for the 7th and
8th grades, and foreign language and cultural introduction is given in
earlier grades; she cited the industrial arts program, computer link to
the library, health curriculum and raised standards as improvements over
the last year; she stated volunteers are heavily utilized and more are
welcome; the Committee is seeking support for both budgets.

The Moderator announced ground rules for the meeting: all discussion will
be initiated by a motion; questions should be  addressed to the Council
and School Committee; keep comments brief; Robert's rules of order will
generally be followed; voice votes will be requested, with a show of hands
or standing (division of the house), if necessary.

Motion by Arthur J. Christman, 42 Windsor Street, to adopt the total Town
Council recommended budget of $5,220,989.00. Motion seconded.

Motion by David S. Martin, 5 Fairview Street, to reduce the total Town
Government budget by $20,000 to $5,200,989.00. Motion seconded. Mr.
Martin: I am not expecting the motion to carry, but it is posed to reflect
upon the financial town meeting (FTM) method to set the budget;  the FTM
has outlived its usefulness, as indicated by this low turnout; I served on
the Home Rule Charter committee; we voted to continue the FTM form of
government then, but its purpose has diminished; this is not a solid
endorsement of the budget; the absence of so many reflects either apathy
or an unwillingness to speak openly against the budget; less than 5% of
the voters are attending; I ask the Moderator to call for a show of hands
on my amendment.
     Mr. Christman: I attend almost all of the Council meetings and budget
work sessions, where there is always low attendance; this is the time to
speak.

Edward T. Doherty, Jr., 12 Nun Avenue: I am very disappointed with the
budget; new homes built in 1997 are new revenue for 1998; as values
increase, more revenues are generated; consequently, we have already
started this year ahead of last year; how many attendees have received a
raise above 5.4%?  The Consumer Price Index is debated to be around 1%
right now; do property values increase every year? They should; it would
result in efficient government; I recommend rejecting any increase in
taxes.
     Council President Amerigian: The method of assessment will change
statewide in the near future; our last revaluation was in 1993; until it
occurs again, that is the value of the property; the only increase is due
to the added value of new homes, which totaled about 2% last year; that
increase is included; building of new homes results in the demand for more
services, especially in the school; considered over the last four years,
the average increase is small.

Hazel B. Turley, 409 Seaside Drive: Retirees are concerned about
increases; I question the snow removal allotment when a lot of it probably
was not used this year; the same is true for trash removal at the beach,
including Jamestown Shores.

Steven M. McInnis, 56 Wright Lane: I oppose the amendment, although the
concern for the future of the FTM is valid; I would like Council to
consider reviewing that at a future meeting for a possible vote in
November; alternatives could be heard and explored more properly in that
arena.

Motion to amend was put to a hand vote, which clearly failed with 18 in
favor; return to main motion.
     There being no requests for further discussion, the main motion was
put to a voice vote, which  clearly carried.

Motion made and seconded to approve the total School Department budget in
the amount of $6,331,135.00. There being no requests for discussion, the
motion was put to a voice vote, which clearly carried.

Motion made and seconded to approve the total Town and School budgets in
the amount of $11,552,124.00. There being no requests for discussion, the
motion was put to a voice vote, which clearly carried.

Motion made and seconded to approve Resolution #1 (loan of $95,000.00 to
the Water and Sewer Commissioners for the water tower) as published in the
Warrant.
     There being no requests for discussion, the motion was put to a voice
vote, which clearly carried.

Motion made and seconded to approve Resolution #2 (loan of $21,000.00 to
the Harbor Management Commission to balance the Commission's budget) as
published in the Warrant.
     There being no requests for discussion, the motion was put to a voice
vote, which clearly carried.

Motion made and seconded to approve Resolution #3 (sewer line frontage tax
rate of $.58 per linear foot) as published in the Warrant. There being no
requests for discussion, the motion was put to a voice vote, which clearly
carried.

Motion made and seconded to approve Resolution #4 (borrowing in
anticipation of taxes) as published in the Warrant.
     There being no requests for discussion, the motion was put to a voice
vote, which clearly carried.

Motion made and seconded to approve Resolution #5 (disposition of
collected back taxes) as published in the Warrant.
     There being no requests for discussion, the motion was put to a voice
vote, which clearly carried.

Motion by Council President Amerigian and seconded to amend Resolution #6
(setting the tax rate) to  read ".....tax on the ratable real estate and
tangible personal property in the sum not less than $9,824,031.00, or not
less than $15.13, nor more than $15.38 per thousand dollars of assessed
valuation." [emphasis provided]. There being no requests for discussion,
the motion to amend was put to a voice vote, which clearly carried. Motion
made and seconded to approve Resolution #6 as amended. There being no
requests for discussion, the motion was put to a voice vote, which clearly
carried.

Council President Amerigian addressed the assembly again, noting that the
proposed upcoming water restrictions would be going into effect at 12:01
AM on Monday, March 9, not this date, as was erroneously reported in one
newspaper.

There being no further business before the assembly, motion made and
seconded to adjourn the Financial Town Meeting at 7:49 PM.
     There being no requests for discussion, the motion was put to a voice
vote, which clearly carried.

Attest:

Theresa C. Donovan, CMC
Town Clerk

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