Lincoln Versus the Courthouse?
According to Jon Baker in today’s Pawtucket Times, many Lincoln residents are not happy about the new courthouse planned for their town. The Lincoln Town Council has even taken steps to prevent it from being built at the currently proposed site…
“I’d like to see officials who are supporting this to face the public that’s against (the courthouse),” [Lincoln Resident Ed O’Neil] said. “I’d like to see them defend their arguments. They’re claiming they have the money to make a courthouse, but they’re not putting any cash back into the school systems. They’re not helping the cities and towns put more aid into education.However, given the current Rhode Island legislature’s view that the job of local officials is to carry out legislative mandates and court orders rather than govern in the best local interests of citizens, it’s not clear that local objections will have any impact.
“This is a total disgrace to the state’s budget,” he continued. “They want to spend all that money on a courthouse we don’t need and that nobody wants. The people of Lincoln will fight this.”
Said former council member Dean Lees before the gathering at town hall: “It just wouldn’t be prudent to build it in an educational zone. The town council has drawn a line in the sand, and the General Assembly still approved the funding for the Lincoln site …Essentially, the council passed an ordinance prohibiting courthouses from being built near a residential and schools area. Then they passed a resolution to the General Assembly not to go forward with the funding, but it did it anyway.”
During a break in the meeting, council member James R. Jahnz, a Democrat representing District 4, also made his feelings known.
“During our last council meeting (May 17), we added an amendment to the zoning ordinance not allowing courthouses in that particular area … I really think that, especially with a state budget as tight as it is, schools are going to be given limited funding. That’s something the town must be aware of. The scales of justice are being weighed upon the backs of Lincoln’s residents.”