Tiverton candidates deny plotting against FTR

TIVERTON — Tiverton Citizens for Change (TCC)  is floating a phony issue by suggesting that some candidates are plotting a return to the former town meeting form of government.

So say several candidates who were not endorsed by the TCC in a letter to the Times this week.

TCC member and Town Council candidate Nancy Driggs was among those who accused some candidates of planning an attempt do away with the Financial Town Referendum approved by Tiverton voters as a replacement to the former town meeting form of government.

“There still exists a small group of people who opposed the FTR and are trying to destroy it,” Ms. Driggs said in a letter last week.

Ms. Driggs, chairwoman of  Voters for the FTR, did not name names but did list those whom she said are on record in support of the FTR:

“The positions towards the FTR of many of the candidates running for Town Council are well-known (Chabot, Lambert, Nelson, Coulter, Driggs).  Joe Sousa and Peter Mello are also in support.   The importance of voting for any person in support of keeping the FTR cannot be over-emphasized.””

She added that the FTR had brought control over  property taxes and the ability to vote in private, on their own schedule, in five or ten minutes (no more having to be subject to ridicule or boos from members of the community at increasingly raucous financial town meetings).”

Adds Dave Nelson, town council candidate and head of the TCC, ” Our work is not done. Leaders of the effort to defeat the popular FTR and tax cap last November have made no commitment to preserve this hard-won taxpayer success.”

Such suggestions by Ms. Driggs and others are false, said candidates James J. Arruda, Renee DeJesus-Jones, Denise DeMedeiros, William P. Gerlach, Brett N. Pelletier and Edward A. Roderick.
“In no way, shape or form has any of us ever made any statement or claim regarding
eliminating the Financial Town Referendum (FTR). The voters put it in place and so it is. Let’s move on,” they said.
“This is really a non-issue in our opinion and a distraction from addressing the real issues facing Tiverton. It’s a false rally cry meant to divide, not unite. Focusing on the FTR in this way is a waste of time and energy.”
Candidates would be better off focusing on real issues, they added, such as ” economic development as a vehicle for lessening the residential tax burden and increasing
our municipal revenue stream, in addition to a sound, transparent, and collaborative budgeting process.”
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