Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Woonsocket North Smithfield 07-09-2020

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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6 NO. SMITHFIELD / WOONSOCKET JULY 9-15, 2020 | VALLEY BREEZE | NORTH SMITHFIELD BLACKSTONE WOONSOCKET NORTH SMITHFIELD – The Town Council approved a $46.7 mil- lion budget last Tuesday, but the town isn't quite ready to move forward with its 2020-2021 budget plan. On Monday, Town Administrator Gary Ezovski announced he was delaying certifying the budget in order to give the town more time to adjust to possible changes coming from the state. In normal years, the town administrator is required to certify the budget within a week of Town Council approval. "Since that certification would effec- tively establish the budget as final, after careful consultation with the town solicitor, I am issuing the attached executive order dated July 6, 2020, to extend the date for certification until Aug. 15, 2020, to provide the council the flexibility it might need to react to state and federal actions, be they posi- tive or negative," he said in an email. The executive order delays the formal adoption of the budget until August, when town officials hope they'll have a better idea of what they'll receive in state aid. Though the move leaves the window open for town officials to redo the budget later this summer, it doesn't necessarily let taxpayers are off the hook until August, said Ezovski. For now, he said, the town will delay issu- ing tax bills as long as they can, but might need the cash in the coming weeks. "Our first quarter tax payments are normally due on Aug. 15," he said. "Delaying that could put strain on our cash flow. We are in wait and see mode at present." The tax rates, he said, will be similar to those advertised with his proposed budget, including a $16.29 per thou- sand dollars of assessed value rate for residential properties and $19.38 rate for commercial properties. North Smithfield holds off on adopting budget By LAUREN CLEM Valley Breeze Staff Writer NORTH SMITHFIELD – There will be a few less pumpkins this fall in North Smithfield, where the North Smithfield Great Pumpkin Festival was officially canceled last week. PumpkinFest, as it's known to most residents, was supposed to take place on Saturday, Sept. 19. With COVID-19 still affecting large events, PumpkinFest Committee Co-Chairperson Elizabeth Featherston told The Breeze those plans are officially off. "The health and the safety and the wellbeing of our community is so much more important than this," she said. Committee members waited through the spring to see what the virus precautions would look like heading into the summer. The com- mittee, she said, briefly considered holding an alternate event, such as a drive-up style day with vendors at North Smithfield Middle School, but decided canceling altogether was the safest option. "As much as we want to do some- thing more, we just are afraid we wouldn't have the right safety pre- cautions in place," she said. Members made the decision dur- ing a virtual committee meeting July 1. The good news for residents is that the committee already has a date for the next PumpkinFest: Sept. 18, 2021. "Obviously, we're hoping and praying that by next year, there'll be a vaccine and we'll be able to have our festival and make it bigger and better than it's ever been to make up for this year's," said Featherston. The PumpkinFest Committee, she said, has stayed busy throughout the pandemic. Earlier this spring, committee members awarded scholarships to Ethan Garneau and James Hanlon, both 2020 graduates of North Smithfield High School. Committee Co-Chairperson Brian Gartland presented the scholarships during the NSHS virtual senior awards night. They also provided a grant to help with costs for the high school's drive-up style graduation and awarded a second grant to North Smithfield Fire and Rescue to purchase an inflatable fire safety smokehouse for the fire prevention program. The committee also enlisted Coffee Hour Marketing, a local design firm, to redo their website, making it easier for vendors and sponsors to sign up for the event next year. Featherston said any vendors who had already paid for spots at this year's event will have the option to carry their payment to next year or receive a refund. The committee chose not to send out sponsorship requests this year. "We do feel it's important that the small businesses that usually support us support themselves this year and their employees and families," she said. PumpkinFest Committee cancels 2020 event By LAUREN CLEM Valley Breeze Staff Writer Local students receive Lt. Governor's Leadership Award PROVIDENCE – High school seniors across Rhode Island were rec- ognized by Lt. Gov. Dan McKee with the Lt. Governor's Leadership Award. The recipients were nominated by their schools for leading positive change in the community and inspir- ing others to excel and achieve. The virtual awards ceremony took place on May 28. The following students from local schools received awards: • Gussy Acosta, Beacon Charter High School for the Arts • Emily Graham, Mount Saint Charles Academy • Julia Nguyen, Woonsocket Area Career and Technical Center • Elizabeth Ferrenti, Woonsocket High School

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