Moderate Town Council Meeting
The first thing of note at tonight’s Tiverton town council meeting is consideration of appointments for the moderator at the financial town meeting. Apparently, the town has received a single réumé to date. It’s not like the moderator has to do anything important; as we learned last year, he or she mainly relays town solicitor Teitz’s findings related to Robert’s Rules.
Director of Public Works Stephen Berlucchi is currently suggesting a program that would begin charging for trash pickup (in addition to what comes out of our taxes). Councilor Louise Durfee just suggested that not all money raised in this way should go to putting money aside for the big pending expense of closing the town landfill, but that some should be redirected toward landfill operating expenses. (Apparently, she wasn’t happy with the condition of the landfill on her last visit there.)
If I heard correctly, Berlucchi’s program amounts to another $750,000-plus tax increase on residents (a point that council President Don Bollin must made).
I’m new to this debate, but I’m not sure why the town can’t allocate more land. Alternately, the town could do some of the back-end work to facilitate private pickup services for residents who want it.
The council just voted 3 to 2 to “encumber” additional funds from their contingency fund for use in preparation for the financial town meeting. The issue is mainly an inability to predict the attendance.
One a positive note, the council voted unanimously to have voting machines available for use during votes at the FTM. In that setting, especially pitting police, fire, and teachers against senior citizens to some extent, voice votes are simply unfair, and hand votes are problematic for reasons both of accuracy and of political pressure.
Councilor Jay Lambert is asking Solicitor Teitz whether the petition to put a fire truck on the docket at the FTM is actually allowable according to the town charter, given the size of the expense and the questionable accuracy of the expenses stated in the petition (lacking operational and other costs that would be implied by the purchase).