To the editor:
The Tiverton Town Council has done well in the last two years, so well in fact that detractors have had to resort to false statements in order to disparage them. The Town Council has some enemies because it works hard to keep the taxes below the state tax cap during this time of recession/depression, so that those on fixed income (or no income) do not lose their Tiverton homes. Even criticisms that are true, such as the criticism that the council holds meetings late into the night — past midnight with executive sessions — demonstrate devotion to duty. Councilors work hard, late into the night, to avoid making decisions without ample study and scrutiny, keeping closed sessions at the end of meetings to minimize inconvenience to attendees, and fully comply with Open Meeting Law.
1. The Town Council did not steal $367,165 in 2010, and $243,092 in 2011, from the schools. The independent auditor found that the town treasurer made a $367,165 error in 2010, listing the total amount of anticipated state funding for schools in the accounts prior to receipt of funds, and failed to correct the amount when actual state funds received were $367,165 short of anticipated amount. The Town Council merely approved the Independent auditor’s $367,165 correction.
2. The Town Council is not responsible for expenditure of $80,000 in taxpayer money for legal fees. The School Department is responsible for the expenditure of $80,000 in taxpayer money for legal fees, because the School Department initiated legal action to obtain funding from taxpayers without the required Special Financial Town Meeting request, to request funding to replace RI education funding that the state withheld from Tiverton schools.
3. The Town Council is not responsible for spending thousands of dollars on unnecessary resurfacing of Lawton Avenue. Resurfacing of Lawton Avenue and other Stone Bridge area streets was a decision made by the director of public works (not Town Council) because: 1. condition of streets; 2. streets dug up by gas company; 3. gas company contribution for repaving.
4. The Town Council is not responsible for wasting $58,500 on a sewer study. The truth is that a sewer study has never been performed in Tiverton, some areas have no possibility of septic systems other than storage tanks, and the sewer study is required by the state.
5. It is not true that Items deleted by Budget Committee in 2012, represented voter decisions. The budget submitted by Budget Committee in 2012 was illegal, because it exceeded Town Charter defined Budget Committee authority. It was an FTR package approved by intimidation of school closure and did not represent any specific voter approval.
Voters who value truth and honesty have an obligation to vote for incumbent Town Council members (and Nancy Driggs who worked diligently for FTR) who carefully balance the needs of all residents, rather than voting for those endorsed by purveyors of false statements and lies who have a hidden agenda.
Roger A. Bennis