Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze & Observer 04-11-2019

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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SMITHFIELD SCITUATE FOSTER GLOCESTER EDITION | VALLEY BREEZE & OBSERVER | APRIL 11-17, 2019 LETTERS 13 Swain: How would Smithfield pay for new roads for Sand Trace? If the town needs to cut the bud- get, how will we pay for all the new roads we will have to build around Sand Trace? There are miles of two-lane country roads with huge trees that will have to be widened and replaced. The entrance will be like the Smithfield Mall during the holi- days. FREDERICK H. SWAIN Smithfield Scott: Water Supply Board and police pension main topics at FTM Gilchrist: Smithfield sports fields need upgrades At 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 2, one of Scituate's most democratic processes took place: The annual Financial Town Meeting. This is the one opportunity where residents can approve, reject, comment, question, or amend our town's proposed bud- get. Townspeople got up one by one and articulated in a clear and civil way the topics that are critical to our town. Two items of particular discus- sion were the renegotiation of the town's tax status with the Providence Water Supply Board (PWSB) and the funding of our private police pension. Regarding the police pension, it was made clear that attention to its performance and its proper manage- ment has significant ramifications for our town. If managed properly, we could lower the timeframe necessary to reach 100 percent funding, limit its liability shortfall, potentially increase our town's bond rating, and decrease the financial annual burden to tax- payers. School Committee member Carolyn Dias also highlighted the most important issue: If we do not focus on managing this pension prop- erly, there will not be any funds for our police officers who worked so hard for so many years. A 2018 annual report by General Treasurer Seth Magaziner's office found more than a third of the local pension plans in Rhode Island are in "critical status," meaning the amount of assets they have saved will cover less than 60 percent of their retirement liabilities. And Scituate is among these. If Scituate's pension fund continues to perform poorly and lack focus, it will become a high- er annual burden to our town and could result in a lower bond rating (meaning that our town pays more when it bonds its expenditures). Regarding the town's most impor- tant natural resource, the Scituate Reservoir, the town has a long his- tory of negotiating with the PWSB, and these negotiations will again take place in the coming month. It was clear at the financial meeting that our townspeople care so deeply about the outcome that they introduced a motion to amend the proposed bud- get to add back $75,000 for profes- sional services to aid in the negotia- tion. On April 23 the Scituate Democratic Town Committee will host an information session on the PWSB negotiation history at the North Scituate Community House (6:30 p.m.), to which all are invited. SHAWN SCOTT Scituate Democratic Town Committee Residents of Smithfield: I have some concerns about our schools' outdoor sports facilities at Gallagher Middle School and especially the Smithfield High School sports com- plex. Some of our sports programs can- not even practice on their home fields due to poor conditions. The boys and girls of these programs have to walk over to Deerfield to use the fields for practices and also play league games. About three years ago we spent $100,000 on the track for a tempo- rary Band-Aid resurface that would last to 2018-2019. The track and the field at this time are in poor condi- tion, there are certain code violations that should be addressed and upgrad- ed at this complex. The track and field need to be upgraded like our surrounding com- munities' schools with all-purpose turf field. Having a turf field will give certain sports programs and physical education programs better conditions to practice on and play competitive league games. Our student athletes are at a disadvantage to other schools that have turf fields. If you agree with this contact your Town Council. MARK GILCHRIST Smithfield Music at the Meeting House Holy Week concert set for Sunday GLOCESTER – The first Music at the Meeting House spring con- cert of its 29th season, The Music of Holy Week, will take place Sunday, April 14, at 2:30 p.m., at the Chepachet Meeting House, home to the Chepachet Baptist Church, 1213 Putnam Pike. The program will highlight the Greenville Baptist Church Choir, Linda Wiles, director; mezzo soprano Arielle Rogers; guest organist Donald Dame; church organist Marilyn Knight; and trumpeter Klancy Martin. The concert will include clas- sical music, traditional hymns, and the Easter story from Scripture. The concert is open to the public without charge; a free will offering will be taken. Refreshments will be served follow- ing the concert. For more information, visit www. chepachetbaptist.org . GLOCESTER NEWS Glocester Libraries host Easter Egg Hunt Saturday GLOCESTER – Children up to age 10 are invited to the Glocester Libraries' 4th annual Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday, April 13, at 11 a.m., at Acotes Field. Registration is not necessary for this free program. The event is co-sponsored by the Glocester libraries and the Glocester Lions Club. The Harmony Library and the Glocester Manton Library are also offering spring themed "Make and Take," free, drop-in crafts during library hours in April for all ages. Visit www.glocesterlibraries.org for more information. Letters to the Editor Letters to the Editor are welcome from readers. Please: • Limit to 500 words. Longer letters may appear online only. • Letters on local or state topics and issues will take precedence over those on national issues. • No more than one letter per person every 8 weeks, please. • All letters must be signed and include a hometown. Send by e-mail to: news@valleybreeze.com, or mail to The Valley Breeze, 6 Blackstone Valley Place, Suite 204, Lincoln, RI 02865. 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