Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze & Observer 07-30-2020

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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SMITHFIELD SCITUATE FOSTER GLOCESTER | VALLEY BREEZE & OBSERVER | JULY 30-AUGUST 5, 2020 SMITHFIELD 21 be replaced. Michael Lawton, Maxine Cavanagh and Dina Cerra rejected the ballot question, saying they would need to see more evidence of the need for a new form of government. Lawton added that without qualifications to run as administrator, the town could elect an inexperienced leader. Resident Tom Hodgkins said the council's position is to decide whether amendments are lawful and the voters decide if the change is wanted. "I'm disappointed with the dim view of voters in Smithfield," he said. The majority of residents who spoke on the issue were against the change. Resident Jeanne Verity said she feels strongly that the appointed manager is working very well for Smithfield, call- ing the move a poorly timed political power grab. "This is one of the bad ideas this commission has brought forth," Verity said. Others said the pandemic creates a timing issue. "We're in the middle of the COVID crisis. I don't think it's a good time to make a change to our form of govern- ment," said resident Maryanne Dwyer. Town Councilors Suzy Alba and Sean Kilduff voted to send the ques- tion to the ballot. Kilduff said voters are responsible and can be trusted with this decision. "At the end of the day, I believe in you to do what is right," Kilduff said. Alba said because nine commission members did not unanimously support the question, she had no choice but to let the voters decide. "Residents of the town of Smithfield will do what's right and do what is best," she said. Commission Chairman Al Costantino said he took pride in pre- senting the ballot question to the coun- cil and felt Alba's restriction of only two minutes of discussion on the item was "unprofessional." He lobbied for the item, saying it will create a system of checks and balances necessary in government. "There should be no reason to not send this to the voters. You have a moral obligation to allow voters to decide on all charter amendments," he said. Costantino said leaving the question to be voted on at 12:45 a.m., when most voters were sleeping, was not right. Of the 26 questions, four ballot ques- tions, including the administrator ques- tion, were rejected. There was some debate last week over a rejected question to cre- ate employee contracts for all town department heads. Costantino said only three town directors, Police Chief Richard St. Sauveur, Deputy Chief Eric Dolan, and Town Manager Randy Rossi, have employee contracts. "It's not good morale. You just don't do that in business," Costantino said. The council unanimously reject- ed the question, with Councilor Cavanagh agreeing with attorney Vincent Ragosta's advice that the change would create potential legal action. Commission member William Hawkins interrupted Cavanagh's motion, calling her a "Republican douchebag." Cavanagh is the sole Republican on the council and is not running for re-election this year. Democrat members Alba and Lawton came to her defense, ask- ing that the comment be put on the record. Cavanagh later stated that since she was elected in 2004, "there has been no change in the division between political parties in Smithfield." Cavanagh said she and several other women were outraged by his lan- guage. "I don't think that a person who exhibits this type of verbal public aggression should be a member of any future board," Cavanagh said. Other rejected ballot questions included changing the town clerk's duties from serving at the pleasure of the town manager to the Town Council's pleasure and mandating that the School Committee submit a bud- get estimate to the town manager by Feb. 15. School Committee Chairwoman Rose Marie Cipriano said the depart- ment does not receive numbers on two large budget items, state aid and employee health benefits, until after February. The council last week agreed that extending terms to four years on a staggered basis beginning in November 2022 will create continuity in goals and prevent a situation of an all-new council lacking institutional knowledge. Cavanagh voted against the motion in a 4-1 decision, saying voters rejected the same charter amendment in 2008. "I think they said what they want, and it should stay the way it is," Cavanagh said. Voters will decide if the Planning Board should be reduced from nine members to seven members, while lengthening terms from three to four years. Commission member Michael Iannotti said Planning Board mem- bers' attendance record disheartened residents during the Sand Trace public hearings. He said seven members is a more manageable number and will help the board run more efficiently. The Financial Town Meeting may be a thing of the past, as the council agreed to send the proposal for a Financial Review Board to voters. The seven-member board would meet monthly to review and make recom- mendations to the Town Council based on the manager's budget. With fewer people attending the "archaic" FTM every year, Costantino said, special interest groups can show up in numbers to sway a vote. Voters will also be asked to add language to the charter to codify the Land Trust Emergency Management Agency, Parks and Recreation, and the welfare director's name change to director of human resources. Voters will also decide whether the council can appoint an unaffiliated replacement to the council or school board if an unaffiliated member leaves more than 12 months before the elec- tion. The Valley Breeze is committed to keeping quality news stories like this one free to our readers. You can be a huge part of this local journalism success story by making a one- time or monthly contribution to what we do every week at valleybreeze.com/support. Thank you as always for reading. TOWN CHARTER From Page One Smithfield delays vehicle tax bills until August AUG. 20 Krista and Daniel Tocco, Happy 28th Birthday! Love, Grammy XOXO SMITHFIELD – Smithfield announced it will hold off on send- ing out car tax bills until the end of August due to state budget delays caused by the COVID-19 pandem- ic. The state is in year four of a six- year motor vehicle tax phase-out, that uses the annual state budget to define the amount of taxes that municipalities can levy on vehicles. Smithfield is postponing tax bills to adjust motor vehicle tax bills in case the state budget changes from the established phase-out schedule. Real estate and property tax bills will be mailed on July 31. BIRTHDAY CLUB SMITHFIELD NEWS got a news tip? Call Laura at 401-334-9555, ext. 145 or e-mail it to laura@valleybreeze.com Right now, beaches are good for watching the sunset from the picnic tables, Caine said. Georgiaville closed on July 8 for recreational use due to a bloom of toxic blue-green algae. Prohibited recreational uses includes fishing, boating, kayaking, and contact with the water should be avoided. Pets can also be affected by expo- sure to algae toxins, and owners should not let pets drink or swim in the water. BEACHES From Page 7 9 Powder Hill Road (Off Rt. 123) Lincoln, RI 401-728-5903 www.RhodyRug.com Open Mon-Fri 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Sat 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Our store is presently closed. Please call in your order and we will drop ship to you for FREE! SELFIE EXAMINATION The explosion in the popularity of selfies on social media has led a considerable number of people to examine and critique every aspect of the faces they put before the public. This self-examination has not only led many to undergo plastic surgery and skin-rejuvenation procedures, but also to consider cosmetic treatments that will make their teeth look whiter, straighter, and more appealing. Among the cosmetic dentistry procedures that are currently most popular among Baby Boomers, in particular, are tooth-whitening and dental implants. While the benefits of tooth whitening are obvious and immediate, dental implants have become an increasingly affordable tooth-replacement treatment for the preservation of natural tooth function and appearance. Don't let the presence of under-developed, unevenly spaced, stained chipped, discolored, or otherwise less than perfect teeth keep you from smiling broadly in your selfies. There are many ways your dentist can use cosmetic dentistry to turn your smile into one you'll be proud to show. To learn about all the innovative cosmetic avenues toward a happier smile, please call DENTAL ARTS GROUP for an appointment. We provide complete, state-of-the-art oral care in a friendly, relaxing environment at 1136 Hartford Ave., Johnston. You can reach us at 401-521-3661. P.S. Unlike traditional dentures which lie on top of underlying gum and bone, dental implants are directly embedded in bone structure, where they help preserve the jawbone and prevent bone loss that leads to the look of an aging face.

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