Letter: Questions 1 and 2 both deserve support from voters

Posted 10/25/21

To the editor:

The voters of Portsmouth will have the opportunity to vote in a special election on or before Nov. 2. Both issues on the ballot are important to our town and its citizens and …

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Letter: Questions 1 and 2 both deserve support from voters

Posted

To the editor:

The voters of Portsmouth will have the opportunity to vote in a special election on or before Nov. 2. Both issues on the ballot are important to our town and its citizens and deserve your support.

Question 1 asks for your approval on a School Facilities Bond. This $21.44 million bond will provide necessary improvements to all Portsmouth schools, with an expected 40-percent reimbursement from the state. The upgrades included in this proposal are all necessary to improve the health and safety of our schools and to guard against having to build a new school in the near future. This approach is the most efficient and cost effective way to complete improvements we will have to do anyway. 

State law now requires us to commit 3 percent of a district’s operating budget in FY 2023 (July 2022) to maintaining the school buildings. If a district does not meet this number, the state will deduct the shorted amount from housing aid and hold it in an account to be specifically used for maintenance projects. It cannot be used for anything else if it gets to this point; the town and district will lose control over that funding. Thus, if voters don't approve the bond, the town will see sharply increased capital requests from the schools to meet these legal requirements.

Question 2 asks for you to approve a property transfer at 110 Bristol Ferry Road, in order to build affordable elderly housing and a new senior center at no cost to the town. If possible renovations to the Anne Hutchinson School, where the senior center is currently located, will also be included. This referendum represents our best opportunity for our town to get a new senior center without incurring additional costs and our best hope for preserving the Anne Hutchinson School.  Without it, the Anne Hutchinson School is undoubtedly at risk.

The Town Council expressed unanimous, bipartisan support for both these questions, because they are in the best interest of Portsmouth and its citizens.  We urge you to vote in favor of both proposals.

You can vote early at Town Hall any business day between now and Monday, Nov. 1, or go to your polling place on Election Day, Nov. 2. For more information about where and when to vote, or to see a sample ballot, please visit our town website at portsmouthri.com.

Kevin Aguiar

President, Portsmouth Town Council

770 Bristol Ferry Road

Portsmouth

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