To the editor:
Looking back at the last two years I’ve been on the Tiverton Town Council, there has been much progress. The FTR and finally a real tax cap tops the list, and serious long-term financial planning has begun: We’ve revamped policies, negotiated affordable labor contracts with police, fire, and Teamsters unions and our police and fire chiefs, addressed landfill, water quality, and police pension liabilities, and saw reserve funds climb from nearly zero to meet charter minimums and then some. We’ve cleared a backlog of litigation and performance reviews, made real progress on the Bay Street cleanup and the Industrial Park, and welcomed a grocery store back to Tiverton. Unlike others, we supported Singing Out Against Hunger and the Tiverton Little League, allowed open public input in meetings, outreached with liaisons with boards and commissions, and held volunteer appreciation nights. Volunteerism is strong, such as TCC’s efforts to support re-roofing the Senior Center and insulate a fire station. A new library is in the works, fire trucks are being replaced, and roads are getting paved again. In short, we are building a better Tiverton, and it’s great to see.
Tax increases in the last two years have been the lowest in decades, but they’re still too high. We need to keep going on the Industrial Park and North Tivertonrevitalization to bring more business to Tiverton to help the local economy and lift some of the burden on residential property taxpayers. Stopping tolls on theSakonnet River Bridge will not be easy, but this Town Council (which did the most to stop EBEC’s eminent domain threat to Tiverton) has been working an action plan and closely partnered with citizens on the Sakonnet Tolls Opposition Platform, which I helped form. We’ve begun the difficult conversations around zoning reform, and I want to ensure follow-through on every item raised at the planning and zoning forum we recently held.
This next term will also have a Charter Review Commission and a Comprehensive Community Plan update. Familiar foes of the FTR have reorganized, and while this year they claim they will no longer fight against the FTR, nowadays, many are still on record as wanting to remove or weaken the tax cap or your voter rights to bring forward petitions. But my support for the FTR has never wavered. Its triple benefits of the tax cap, level playing field, and tenfold increase in budget participation are the cornerstones of Tiverton’s turnaround.
As always, call me at 525-0469 with your questions and concerns. It has been a continuing honor to work for you and see real progress happen. Let’s keep it going, because Tiverton is on the rise.