Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Woonsocket North Smithfield 05-23-2019

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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12 BLACKSTONE MAY 23-29, 2019 | VALLEY BREEZE | NORTH SMITHFIELD BLACKSTONE WOONSOCKET EDITION BLACKSTONE – Blackstone vot- ers will take on the fiscal year 2020 budget at the annual town meeting this Tuesday, May 28, at 7:30 p.m. at the Blackstone-Millville Regional High School auditorium. First on the list of concerns for many residents is the Blackstone- Millville Regional School District budget. Earlier this year, the School Committee certified a budget that included a $9.5 million request in local contribution from the town of Blackstone, a 5.8 percent increase over the current local contribution. That number was later dropped to $9.2 million in the recommendation by the Board of Selectmen, a 2 per- cent increase over the current local contribution. During a Finance Committee hear- ing on May 13, Town Administrator Daniel Keyes told residents the recommendation would scale back improvements at the schools to take place over a four-year period instead of a two-year period as originally requested. If residents choose to pass the original $9.5 million ask, he said, the anticipated tax increase would be approximately $250 on an average household assessed at $286,000. "I want to make sure that the citi- zens of Blackstone know that the tax increase will be because of the school budget, not because of the general budget, because we must maintain the services that they are accustomed to," he said. Included in the $9.5 million request was $1,417,248 in supplemental investment, a 58 percent increase over the amount approved at last year's town meeting. The Board of Selectmen's recommendation includes $1,122,311 in supplemental invest- ment, a 25 percent increase over the current amount. Supt. Jason DeFalco defended the budget during the hearing, saying Blackstone schools continue to strug- gle with large class sizes at the ele- mentary level and a wave of students leaving for charter and vocational schools, leading to increased costs for the district. The following evening, the Finance Committee voted 5-2 to approve the Board of Selectmen's recommenda- tion of $9.2 million rather than the School District's request. The overall town budget recom- mended by the Board of Selectmen includes a combined general, water and sewer expenditure of $27,017,598, a 4.6 percent increase over the current fiscal year. The war- rant submitted by the board also includes several capital expenditures or bond approvals for various town projects, including: • $5 million toward final engineer- ing design and construction of the water treatment plant at 53 Elm St. • $1 million toward improvements at public properties • $40,000 to complete mandatory state regulation repairs to the Police Department cell area • $150,000 for improvements at Fire Stations 1 and 2 • $85,000 for improvements at the Blackstone Public Library In addition to the budget articles, residents will vote on several other measures at the annual town meeting, including: • Prohibiting the discharge of water onto public roads and sidewalks between Nov. 1 and April 30 due to concerns about unsafe conditions and damage to pavement • Granting easements along Mill Street to the state for the creation of the Blackstone River Greenway • Amending the town's zoning bylaws to apply to recreational as well as medical marijuana and limit mari- juana establishments to commercial or industrial districts by special permit • Limiting solar facilities larger than 100 kilowatts to industrial districts by special permit and limiting their size to no more than 25 percent of the total land area of a district • Converting the office of collector- treasurer from an elected to an appointed position A special town meeting will take place at 7 p.m. immediately before the annual town meeting to vote on payments for the prior fiscal year. Residents to take on school budget at annual town meeting Tuesday By LAUREN CLEM Valley Breeze Staff Writer Blackstone Annual Town Meeting Tuesday, May 28, 7:30 p.m., at Blackstone-Millville Regional High School, 175 Lincoln St., Blackstone. 144 Broad Street, Cumberland, RI 02864 Website: • E-mail: Office: 401-724-8650 Fax: 401-725-1690 Floors You Love ~ Service You Expect Family Owned & Operated Since 1986 Always Free Estimates 24 Month Financing Available *for qualified buyers see store for details thru May 31st, 2019 Waterproof Pet Proof Worry Proof Colors that Speak to You. MEMORIAL DAY SAVINGS Save up to $1000 on select flooring styles thru May 31st

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