Workshops on $59 million Portsmouth budget begin Monday


PORTSMOUTH — The Town Council will begin deliberations tonight, April 29, on a $59.14 million spending plan for 2013-2014 that represents a 2 percent increase over the current town budget. The workshop begins at 7 p.m. at Town Hall.

Town Administrator John Klimm is recommending a budget of $59,137,289, about $355,000 less than what had been requested from town departments. Taxpayers would be responsible for funding $47.57 million of the budget, an increase of just over 2 percent. The budget includes $37.42 million for the public schools, a .4 percent decrease from the current spending plan.

According to a letter submitted by Mr. Kilmm to the council, the proposed budget includes many initiatives, including a long-term public roads plan "aimed at combating the progressive deterioration of the town's roads."

The Public Works Department has requested money for road repairs in the past but funds have not been consistently allocated to the program, he said. The goal is to commit $1 million in un-borrowed funds annually toward road maintenance until road conditions are improved enough to allow the ongoing maintenance program to be scale back, he said.

"It is well established that the cost of allowing roadways to fall into a state of total reconstruction far exceeds the cost of an ongoing maintenance program," Mr. Klimm stated, adding that Public Works has already compiled a list of needed road repairs. "These repairs may include full depth reconstruction, asphalt overlay, milling, shimming, paving, crack sealing or chip sealing. Year one of our program has been a success and our commitment must continue in the years to come."

Other proposals in the budget include:

• a five-year capital improvement plan, in cooperation with the School Department

• a new full-day kindergarten program in the schools

• increased funding for pension plan liability

• return of "real dollars" to restore town's fund balance

• adoption of a community outreach and civic engagement plan

• an operational audit of the fire department and hiring of civilian dispatchers

Here's the schedule for upcoming Town Council budget meetings, all of which begin at 7 p.m. at Town Hall unless otherwise noted:

• Monday, April 29: Capital improvement plan

• Tuesday, April 30: Police, fire and public works

• Tuesday, May 14: School budget and adoption of provisional budget

• Wednesday, June 12: Public hearing at the middle school

• Monday, June 24: Formal adoption of budget

A copy of the budget can be viewed or downloaded at


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Bill Carson

e Portsmouth Town Council has heard a number of possible outcomes for the town's wind turbine. The turbine has been broken since May of 2012.

The repair costs are near one million dollars.

So far two options have been presented for discussion to the council.

Special legislation was passed by the R I General Assembly in 2007 that allowed one vote by the residents of Portsmouth. That legislation was for a 3 million dollar bond and a commercial wind turbine in one package . How now do you break up the package without rewriting the bond at a higher interest rate in order to go into a public private partnership ? Does the Town of Portsmouth have another issue with the percentage rates of the bond on top of the catastrophic commercial wind turbine failure?

Will the Town of Portsmouth need special legislation as a requirement to both borrow money to pay removal costs and to potentially refinance tax-exempt bonds in case the turbines are resold to a non-governmental body?

Will the Town of Portsmouth will need special legislation as a requirement to both borrow money to pay removal costs and to potentially refinance tax-exempt bonds in case the turbines are resold to a non-governmental body. ?

If a new commercial wind turbine is constructed what is the abutter notification and permit process for a private contractor ? What are the new setbacks to the town water tank, high school field and highway ?

This is the year 2007 General Bond Bill for 3 million and Install a wind turbine at Portsmouth High School.

Senate Bill S 0260

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.