Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Woonsocket North Smithfield 06-13-2019

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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NORTH SMITHFIELD BLACKSTONE WOONSOCKET EDITION | VALLEY BREEZE | JUNE 13-19, 2019 NORTH SMITHFIELD 5 NORTH SMITHFIELD – A hear- ing on the proposed fiscal year 2020 budget Monday night turned into a debate over prior town policy dating back several years as residents and policy makers attempted to point fin- gers over the town's current budget predicament. The $44.9 million budget proposed by the Budget Committee would result in a 3.13 percent increase in the tax levy, a slighter smaller num- ber than the $45 million budget and 3.93 percent levy increase recom- mended by Town Administrator Gary Ezovski. The tax rates proposed in the town administrator's budget include a 90-cent decrease per thousand dol- lars of assessed value for residential property and a $1 decrease for com- mercial property from the current rates. However, with the average residential property increasing in value by 18 percent and commercial properties increasing by 6 percent following the last revaluation, many homeowners can expect to see increases on their tax bills even with the lower rates. Despite the increase in residential and commercial property values, the town is experiencing a sharp drop in tax revenue from tangible property, with the overall assessed value of tan- gible property in town decreasing by nearly $20 million next budget cycle. Combined with the nonprofit conversion of the Rehabilitation Hospital of Rhode Island and a drop in the amount of state aid to schools, the decrease has town officials looking at fewer options to bal- ance next year's budget. The drop in tangible tax is due at least in part to a project undertaken by National Grid several years to upgrade its infrastructure in town. As a result, the taxable value of the infrastructure increased, and the amount of tangible property tax collected by the town skyrocketed, increasing from $2.2 million in 2010 to $6.2 million 2014. With those upgrades finished and their value depreciating, tangible tax revenue has begun to drop back toward its previous levels. At the time, town officials opted to absorb those funds into the general operating budget and used them to pay off bonds for school and road projects, a decision that drew criti- cism from Town Council President Paul Vadenais Monday night. "It's creating a structural deficit in your budget every year that you go forward, and the only way to fill it is on the backs of the residential tax- payers," he said. Former Budget Committee mem- bers Mike Rapko and Michael Clifford both took issue with Vadenais' characterization of the problem, saying it was decisions made by later town and school officials, and not the prior Budget Committee, that resulted in the chal- lenges now facing the town. "If anyone's responsible for the cur- rent mess that we're in now, it's the current leadership," said Clifford. Regardless of where the blame lies, the tight budget drew several depart- ment representatives to the middle school cafeteria Monday night to air their concerns about potential cuts. These included School Committee Chairman James Lombardi, who cau- tioned that, despite a recommended 2.48 percent increase in the local appropriation, the proposed budget could lead to cuts in several school positions due to a drop in state aid and the rising costs of salaries, out-of- district tuition and special education. "The way the budget stands today, we're looking at an additional $452,241 in cuts," he said. Lombardi asked the Town Council to add an extra $150,000 to the Budget Committee's and town administrator's recommendations, which would amount to a 3.24 per- cent local increase for the schools. The extra funds, he said, would be used to add a math interventionist back into the middle school budget along with one additional position. Budget troubles in North Smithfield By LAUREN CLEM Valley Breeze Staff Writer EZOVSKI See BUDGET, Page 26 DEPARTMENT OF BUSINESS REGULATION DIVISION OF COMMERCIAL LICENSING AND REGULATION Liquor Control Section The Department of Business Regulation gives notice that Lops Brewing LLC has ap- plied for a Manufacturer Brewery Liquor license to operate under Title 3 of the General Laws of Rhode Island, 1956, as amended. A hearing will be held on Tuesday, June 25th, 2019 at 11:00 am at the Department of Business Regulation, John O. Pastore Center, 1511 Pontiac Avenue, Building 69-1, Cranston, RI 02920 at which time and place all persons interested may be heard. The Department of Business Regulation is accessible to the handicapped. Individuals requesting interpreter services for the hearing impaired must notify this office at (T.D.D.711). Pamela J. Toro, Esquire Associate Director Department of Business Regulation REALTOR ® Licensed in RI & MA Eric Brouillard PROPERTIES 261 Main St., Suite 201 North Smithfield Rhode Island 02896 Cell: 401-569-2725 Office: 401-356-1519 Stearns/McGee Team

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