The Tone of the Incumbent

The other evening, an older gentleman in Tiverton told me of his experience working in town government with Tiverton Town Council President Louise Durfee… during the Nixon administration. Well, the heiress apparently sees something of concern in Tiverton Citizens for Change, because she took out a big advertisement in the Sakonnet Times this week, the implications of which will no doubt strike familiar, dissonant chords among Anchor Rising readers:

Citizens of Tiverton Be Wary!
A group of recent residents to Tiverton has formed a Political Action Committee (PAC) to teach us fiscal “responsibility”. The PAC is Tiverton Citizens for Change (TCC) which is composed of the same people who sought a $2 Million dollar cut at the recent Financial Town Meeting.
The $2 Million dollar cut was sought even after the Municipal budget as proposed by the Town Council for the Town Meeting had a ZERO impact on the tax rate. For example the municipal budget covers among other things, the Police Dept., the Fire Dept., the Senior center, the Highway Dept., the Library, Summer programs, the Town Hall and all volunteer boards.
The TCC has a responsibility to come forward with the budget cuts they would make.

Would they do away with our Senior Center?
Would they go back to a Volunteer Fire/Police Dept.?
Would they operate the Police Dept. from 9-5?
Would they do away with trash pick-up and snow plowing?
Would they ditch any proposed plans for a new library?
Would they cut summer recreation programs?

Be careful what you “wish for” and most of all be well informed about WHO you vote for!

Ah, the familiar ring of the Rhode Island political strategy: scare as many citizens as possible that their pet programs will be lost with disastrous results, stoke nativist prejudices against newcomers to the town, and treat those newcomers as if their voices ought to count for less in the governance of our town.
Ms. Durfee best be wary. Among the intended effects of TCC’s advocacy is preventing all those “recent residents” from leaving the (quote/unquote) real Tivertonians to foot the bill for town services all on their own.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
16 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Monique
Editor
12 years ago

“most of all be well informed about WHO you vote for!”
My sentiments exactly.

Tom W
Tom W
12 years ago

Funny how New Hampshire, without a sales or income tax operates its government, and provides government services far superior to those of Rhode Island.
Using the logic of the Durfee’s and Walsh’s and Crowley’s of the world, New Hampshire should resemble Somalia.
Funny, Rhode Island with it’s third-world educational achievement, 40% above national average unemployment, moonscape roads and collapsing bridges is far closer to resembling Somalia than is New Hampshire.

Pat Crowley
Pat Crowley
12 years ago

Haven’t check in in a while and hey, what do you know, I’m mentioned.
Wow, you really are obsessed with me Tom. Did you really just loop me in with tax policy in New Hampshire?
ah, what power…..

Mike
Mike
12 years ago

“Funny how New Hampshire, without a sales or income tax operates its government, and provides government services far superior to those of Rhode Island.”
Nothing funny about it-patronage, corruption, cronyism, grossly inflated payrolls and social welfare benefits, communist lunactics like Crowley, Jerzyk, Segal, Slater, Brewster, Henry Shelton and too many more are actually taken as serious players instead of the fringe freaks they are.

Tom W
Tom W
12 years ago

>Haven’t check in in a while and hey, what do you know, I’m mentioned. Wow, you really are obsessed with me Tom. Did you really just loop me in with tax policy in New Hampshire? ah, what power…..
Mr. Crowley:
Not obsessed. Not power.
More like invoking your symbolism.
Were there an effort (by the General Assembly) to make our state government work on behalf of actual “working families” and not the public sector union / welfare industry special interests, by rescinding the income tax and/or sales tax to make this state comparable to states like Texas, Tennessee and New Hampshire (and so attractive to employers who will bring jobs here) it is safe to say …
… that you and Kate Brewster and the rest of the usual suspects that enrich yourselves off of taxes would be out there predicting doom and gloom, notwithstanding the records of those other states where the average private sector citizen is enjoying better roads, better public schools, far greater prosperity and economic opportunity than is now available, or on the horizon, in Rhode Island.
Your doom and gloom for Rhode Island is our economic revitalization and renewal for Rhode Island.

James L.
James L.
12 years ago

“most of all be well informed about WHO you vote for!”
Yet another reason to get rid of straight ticket voting. People who do that are uneducated on the candidates and just plain lazy.

Jay
Jay
12 years ago

Obviously James has no idea how the vote works in Tiverton; we’ve had non-partison elections since our charter change, hence the reason 16 people are running for council this time. Know before you pontificate, James.

Justin Katz
12 years ago

No need for the snarl, Jay. James’s point is valid as a tangential matter and, moreover, the straight-party advantage was around for most of Durfee’s (hopefully waning) tenure.

jay
jay
12 years ago

Justin,
No snarl, just frustration w/ those who write about that which they have no idea.
No one likes to pay higher taxes, myself included. What are your suggestions to solve the current fiscal problems facing our town?
Please do elaborate which of the “pet programs” you would wish to see diminished. Should we go back to a volunteer fire Department or perhaps we should have the State Police assume coverage from 6PM until 8 AM. Perhaps we should close the senior center or eliminate trash pickup. These are not scare tactics but, rather things that are imminent if we cut the budget by some $2M.
Tiverton needs the input & ideas of all of our citizens not just criticism.

Tom W
Tom W
12 years ago

Jay,
Why do you assume that programs must be cut or eliminated?
Most of a municipal budget is pay and benefits, and if we aligned public sector compensation and benefits with those of the private sector taxpayers we’d enjoy huge savings.
We could start with immediately converting town employees teachers from defined benefit plans (pensions) to defined contribution plans (401k / 403b).
Now add 20-30% “co-shares” for health care premiums.
Voila – same services and tax cuts, and municipal employees would still receive a competitive and (now) fair compensation package.

Justin Katz
12 years ago

Well, Jay, part of the reason I stopped attending every town meeting that I could was that I’ve been busy cutting my own budget in order to maintain my home.
That said, I note from a quick look at the budget document handed out at the financial town meeting that Tiverton spends over half a million dollars on overtime and longevity.
I don’t know about bringing in the state police for assistance, but I see that we’re budgeting for almost $100,000 for sick leave buybacks, education incentive, and a brand-new “school resource officer.”
The town’s “group insurance/health/dental/life” budget is $1,905,000. The school department’s benefits line is budgeted at $5,484,990. Two million dollars is just 12.4% of that total.
So why are you incumbents threatening to eliminate trash pickup, the senior center, a paid fire force, and so on?

Jay
Jay
12 years ago

Tom,
You are obviously confused. If you want to cut the budget, you can only really cut the municipal budget. The school budget will be funded to at least the level of last year plus $1. I think that programs will be cut because there is no other way to reduce taxes than cut to the bone programs that the citizens now expect.Three employees lost there jobs this year in order to keep the budget to a 1.3% increase.
So again, I ask which of the “pet programs” do you propose we cut? Do the citizens of Tiverton want to forgo trash pickup, police coverage, emergency services or all of the above?
In order to cut some $2M from a town’s budget, very severe and deep cuts will be required. I ask you to propose realistic cuts not pie in the sky items.
I have personally proposed that all health care co-pays start at 25% for all forthcoming contracts. Assuming that the future council is successful with this approach, where will the remainder of the $1.8M come from?

Tom W
Tom W
12 years ago

>You are obviously confused. If you want to cut the budget, you can only really cut the municipal budget. The school budget will be funded to at least the level of last year plus $1
That statutory provision references the top line of the school budget only. So if we adjust teacher compensation to market realities it frees up cash for schoolchildren – textbooks, computers, whatever.
Also, the teachers are in the state pension system, not the municipal one. I don’t know if Tiverton line items its “contribution” to the state pension system (on behalf of teachers) in the town budget or the school budget. But if the former, the savings on changing to a defined contribution system would (on an accounting basis) accrue to the Town side of the ledger.
At the same time, adjusting the other municipal employees as described in previous post would also accrue large savings. As to the $2 million dollar figure you cite, I am no familiar enough with the details of Tiverton’s budget to offer an opinion as to whether it would be at, above or below that amount. But there is no doubt that there would be significant savings.

johnpaycheck
johnpaycheck
12 years ago

jay is taking a page out of the cranston school committee and counsel playbook……the big stuff like payroll, health insurance and pension are sacred and are ignored and the only thing left to cut is the nickel and dime middle scholl sports.
that game doesnt work like it used to

WillP
WillP
12 years ago

“jay is taking a page out of the cranston school committee and counsel playbook”
And Tom and Justin are taking a page out of Gov. Carcieri’s – balancing the budget through unspecified and/or unagreed upon personnel savings. And while the lawyers hash it all out, what about that balanced budget?

Monique
Editor
12 years ago

“balancing the budget through unspecified and/or unagreed upon personnel savings.”
1.) The area of budget savings is quite specific and agreed by the Governor and the General Assembly, who gets the ultimate say in all of this.
2.) Agreed by whom? So any reduction in benefits – even to a level which is still superior to the private sector – requires the approval of all employees? In what world would that occur?
(… Did you really follow up your anti-budget reducing comments by asking where the balanced budget is? That is very funny …)

Show your support for Anchor Rising with a 25-cent-per-day subscription.