Don’t believe all you hear about Tiverton Town Council

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

Tiverton

2 Comments

  1. TomPavao said:

    I would like to make a few corrections to the letter above.

    1. Auditors do not make corrections. They audit the financial statements of an organization as presented by the Treasurer or Chief Financial Officer of a company. The Town Council didn’t just vote to accept the audit report, they voted to support former Treasurer DiMattia’s action to remove over $600,000 from the school department budget. You can’t blame this on the auditors.

    2. The Town Council spent $80,000 dollars of taxpayer money defending themselves and the former treasurer after taking the $600,000 dollars from the schools. At the end of the day the Town Council only returned the money because a judge was going to throw them in jail for ignoring a previous court order to return the money. If the schools were wrong then why did a superior court judge issue a court order to make the Town Council return the money?

    3. When did the public works director become an independent entity in Town? He reports to the Town Administrator and the Town Administrator reports to the Town Council. The fact that Lawton Ave was paved and Councilor Coulter lives on this street may be just a weird coincidence, but it is a coincidence none the less. I would also like to point out that Roger Bennis benefited from the paving as he lives on Lawton Avenue as well.

    4. The expense for the sewer study was not in the proposed budget at the FTR. Period. Maybe if Mr Nelson went to a budget committee workshop and explained the need for a sewer study, the item could have made it into the budget.

    5. The fact remains that the budget submitted to the FTR, by the budget committee, was vetted in public hearings, and voted on by the people of Tiverton. Let us not forget the prize was the FTR. The voters at the FTR have spoken and they didn’t say anything about a sewer study.

    Here are a few facts that good old Bennis left out:

    What about the pump out boat. In these tough times I am not sure of how many average Tiverton households have the money to afford their own boat, yet we are paying for a boat to float around the Sakonnet to pump out peoples crap. Is this really a pressing need?

    I am also not sure how Jay Lambert telling people to shut up at Town Council meetings translates into devotion to duty. Telling people to shut up is just plain wrong.

    Thousands in wasted tax dollars to be told by a court that they were wrong. Doesn’t sound like good stewards of taxpayer dollars.

  2. tubby barton said:

    The FTR lie appears to be the latest in a long line of TCC-generated lies to the taxpayers in order to scare the uninformed voter (their prime constituency) into supporting their often poorly though out positions. Whenever I see something like this whether it’s from Nancy, her alter ego “Jane Doe” or one of the other TCC shills I laugh and think of the 22% tax increase threat of a few years ago. These folks are simply not credible or anyone we can vote for.

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