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Letter: Portsmouth budget increase equals higher taxes


To the editor:

Unemployment in the U.S. is approximately 14 percent and rising. The local economy is slowly opening, but many residents are still suffering from the effects of the pandemic. People remain unemployed, furloughed or have accepted pay reductions. Businesses are struggling; many have closed and may never open again.

Under these extremely traumatic times, the Portsmouth Town Council approved a $1.8 million increase to the town budget. This increase includes pay raises for almost every town employee including an almost 9-percent raise for the town solicitor. This tone-deaf budget and lack of empathy is shameful.

Additionally, over 2,000 residents have received assistance from the food pantry at St. Barnabas. During the public hearing, a resident suggested a donation to the food bank. Unfortunately that recommendation fell on deaf ears.

It is time to prioritize the needs of Portsmouth residents. The Town Council meets on Monday, June 22, to ratify this increase. It is important that you contact the council president, Kevin Aguiar ( and town clerk, Jennifer West ( to express your concerns. 

Nancy Howard

16 Dianne Ave.


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Scott Pickering

Scott Pickering has been on the East Bay Newspapers team for more than two decades, since starting as a reporter for the Sakonnet Times. He's been editor of most of the papers, was Managing Editor of all the papers for many years, and became General Manager in 2012. Today he can be found posting to, steering news coverage, writing editorials, talking to readers, working with the sales team, collaborating on design, or helping do whatever it takes to get the papers out the door. Reach him at