Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Cumberland Lincoln 04-12-2018

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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CUMBERLAND LINCOLN EDITION | VALLEY BREEZE | APRIL 12-18, 2018 LETTERS TO THE EDITOR 19 Murray's picture of Cumberland's fiscal health needs less 'guesswork' Would you pay the bill without seeing the receipt? The town wants taxpayers to do just that. Last week's Valley Breeze article, "Unexpectedly Modest Tax Increase in Cumberland" attempts to paint a picture by the current town admin- istration that a more modest levy increase from the earlier projected 4 percent increase (adopted with the FY18 budget passage) is recommend- ed due to the miraculously "better than projected financial returns" and a "prudent fiscal approach." But a more careful look at what the mayor alleges as "the most modest increase in taxes that I could possibly get" suggests what I would call "levyman- dering." Levymander – to alter the approach to budget projections and amendments to promote favorable financial picture for town or city; typically implemented during an election year. Example: The mayor's levymandering guesswork resulted in a lower-than-projected tax increase during the 2018 election year. Mayor Murray alleges that Cumberland's unsynchronized sys- tem causes "guesswork" that led to his overestimating the amount need- ed in taxes. I strongly disagree with this approach. Why would you ever want the town "guessing" on your tax bill? The formulaic approach of the levy worksheet requires a current and accurate account of projected revenue and expenditures. The tax levy is the government equivalent of our "bill of services," while the budget is considered as "the receipt." The current adminis- tration has yet to present a budget amendment reflecting the extra reve- nue and expense reductions noted in the article. The administration wants to send you the bill and mandates for you to "trust" that they will eventu- ally send you the receipt. Would you ever pay a bill without seeing the receipt? The existing legislation guiding the tax levy has stood the test of time and is partly responsible for the town's positive financial standing. The legislation is designed to remove political gamesmanship or levyman- dering while also ensuring proper scrutiny by the Town Council before our tax bills are mailed. Our house- hold equivalent to Mayor Murray's tax levy would be like using 25 per- cent of our savings in the bank, plus your kids' birthday money, and not paying the credit card balance, just to make ends meet for the year. The mayor wants to send a bill that includes a collections rate which is less than the five-year average and significantly less than the last three years. This is a classic case of levy- mandering – altering budget projec- tions to promote a more favorable town financial picture during an elec- tion year. Our townspeople deserve better. JEFF MUTTER Cumberland Mutter is a former Town Council President and School Committee Chair. Thanks for Yellow Bag cleanup help Many thanks to Tom Ward and The Valley Breeze for their contin- ued effort to sponsor and support a most valuable project, the clean- ing of our trash-filled roadsides. It pains me to drive through our community only to be greeted with debris deposited by dim- sighted individuals who flunked "Pick-up-after-yourself 101." I offer them this beautiful quote from Woody Guthrie. "This land is your land, this land is my land." Please do not trash my land. MIKE BODAY Cumberland Mr. Boday, a retired music educator, cleans a large section of Nate Whipple Highway each year. Pawtucket library's Passport Office marks 5th anniversary PAWTUCKET – The passport acceptance facility at the Pawtucket Public Library, 13 Summer St., is celebrating its five-year anniver- sary. The Passport Office is now offer- ing walk-in service, as well as the option of appointments. It's open Monday through Thursday from 4 to 9 p.m., and Saturdays 1 to 5 p.m. Pawtucket library is the first in Rhode Island to process U.S. pass- port applications. Passport photos can also be provided for a fee of $10. Appointments can be made by calling 401-725-3714, ext. 212. The Department of State's website also offers complete information on the passport application process at www.travel.state.gov . IN BRIEF Appeal on cuts to disabled heartfelt, but misdirected Everyone's heart and admiration go out to people that, like Muriel and Brian Newton with their daugh- ter Jennifer, have raised a child with Down Syndrome. And their plea for a stop to further cuts to agencies serv- ing disabled adults ("Cuts to disabled taking toll on those in need," March 29, 2018) is both clearly articulated and well taken. However, their ire at supposedly heartless legislators is not directed properly. If Rhode Island has cut discretionary spending to those agencies by 40 per- cent since 2007, and proposes cutting another 18 percent, it's because it has no choice. Non-discretionary man- dates are out of control, consuming an ever-larger share of the state budget. By far the largest culprits are Medicaid (the state's 43 percent share costs us more than a billion dollars a year) and annual appropriations for lifetime state-retiree pensions and health care (at another half-billion dollars, grossly underfunded relative to liabilities). While we aren't in as poor a structural position as, for instance, Connecticut and New Jersey, like them Rhode Island is in a death spiral, with ever-ballooning mandatory costs crowding out what most residents view as traditional government services, and being piled on fewer and fewer taxpayers that can and will vote with their feet. This isn't to suggest that Medicaid recipients and state retirees are somehow evil – that's just silly – but the math is inexorable. If someone qualifies, the state must pay. So if Mr. and Mrs. Newton would like to direct their advocacy towards root causes instead of unfortunate effects, they might petition their legis- lators to enact truly serious Medicaid eligibility and state employee benefit reforms. (And by the way, I hope their suggestion that instead more 911 and gas tax proceeds be "scooped" was simply a rhetorical flourish). Again, their passion for our fellow R.I. citizens with developmental dis- abilities is exceptionally laudable. But let them please aim more effectively. Keep up the good work! MIKE SPEIDEL Lincoln 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. SandPoint aSSociateS SandPointRi.com mike HageRty 401-474-1075 Providing Real Estate Solutions Your guide to nursing home/Medicaid Protection Wills & Trusts Medicaid Planning Probate Northern RI's Premier Full Service Law Firm Jarret Law, LLc 176 Eddie Dowling Highway, Suite 202, North Smithfield, RI 401-769-2929 www P. Jarret III, Esq. "Jay" Aram P. Jarret, Jr., Esq. Rachel A. Baboian, Au. D. Doctor of Audiology Licensed Audiologist 6 Blackstone Valley Place, Building 3, Suite 307, Lincoln, RI www.hearforyouri.com 401-475-6116 OPEN CAPTION MOVIES FOR THE HEARING IMPAIRED! Did you know CinemaWorld in Lincoln shows Open Caption Movies Daily! Go to www.cwtheaters.com/Lincoln/OpenCaption for showtimes FREE MOVIE PASS Ask about a At your next visit at Hear for You!

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