PO Box 455, Adamsville, RI  02801

Little Compton Taxpayers Association
PO Box 455
Adamsville, Rhode Island 02801

 

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FY21 Financial Town Meeting
 - June 30, 2020 -
June 5, 2020

At it's June 4, 2020 meeting, the Town Council decided to conduct the FY21 Financial Town Meeting (FTM) on June 30, 2020 at 7 PM using an Internet-based Zoom Webinar format. Timing requirements have dictated the change in date to June 30th as well as concern that a quorum would not be reached if the FTM were to be held in the Wilbur & McMahon School gymnasium in accordance with the social distancing rules and crowd sizes. A quorum in this case is 157 people.

Taxpayers who receive an Annual Report from the Budget Committee will find an ID number printed on the mailer. That is what will be used to enter the FTM Zoom Webinar. If this fails, the Town Council will tentatively approve the FY21 budget followed by another FTM at the earliest opportunity. Note: Taxpayers can also enter the Webinar by telephone.

Little Compton has been conducting FTMs in one form or another for 3 centuries. This will be the first time that it cannot be done via in-person attendance. The fact that the Town/State/Country is in an emergency status caused by COVID-19 justifies this departure.


Gym Open for Primary Election
on June 2, 2020
May 30, 2020

We asked the Little Compton Town Clerk (Carol Wordell) if the Wilbur & McMahon School gym will be open for in-person voting on Primary day. The following was her response.

"Yes the gym will be set up.  Social distancing is the primary rule.  Not expecting a large turn out as we did over 850 mail ballot requests.

 Will have monitors to restrict no more than 80 in the gym at any given time, no worries there! J

Disposable stylus pens for voters to use.  Booths set up 8 ft. apart to allow for social distancing and space to walk to voting machines.  Essentially the setup is spread out throughout the full gym.

 7 am to 8 pm as normal.  Also, a drop box will be located in my office from 7 am to 8 pm on election day to take any mail ballots people have cast but are not willing to drive to Cranston to drop off.  New regulation adopted by the BOE to give people the extra drop off locations throughout the state.  

 Carol"


2020 Primary Election
June 2, 2020
May 21, 2020

The Primary Election in Rhode Island will take place on June 2, 2020. Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic and implementing social distancing practices, the Presidential Primary on June 2, 2020 will be a predominantly mail ballot election. All registered voters will receive a mail ballot application. For voters who cannot vote by mail and require to vote in person, review the steps below before voting at a polling place. There will be fewer polling places open and it is encouraged to vote my mail.

  1. Verify that your address is up to date.
  2. See a sample ballot to familiarize yourself with the races and questions you will vote on.
  3. Find your polling place and check polling place hours.
  4. Find contact information for your local board of canvassers in case any issues arise.

Bring A Valid Photo ID
Get your ballot
Go to the voting booth
Mark your ballot
Proceed to the voting machine
Insert your ballot into the voting machine

Sample Ballot - Click here


FY21 Financial Town Meeting
June 23, 2020
May 21, 2020

The Town Council decided to conduct the FY21 Financial Town Meeting (FTM) on Tuesday, June 23, 2020. In view of the restrictions for gatherings brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the method of conducting the FTM is being studied. Will it be indoors? Outdoors? Electronic? A decision by the Town Council? The decision will be published here as soon as it is made. 


FY21 Financial Town Meeting
Postponed
April 30, 2020

The Town Council conducted a special meeting tonight using a Virtual Scenario over the Internet. Until the ban on gatherings of people is lifted, this will be the case for meetings in the foreseeable future as the Corona Virus runs its course.

A decision was unanimously made to postpone the annual Financial Town Meeting scheduled May 19th for 60 days. The new date for the Financial Town Meeting is tentatively set for June 29, 2020. There are provisions in the regulations that allow the Town to continue spending under the current FY20 budget structure during the postponement.


 Hearing: Plastic Bags, Straws, & Balloons;
And Outdoor Lighting
August 8, 2019

The Town Council and Planning Board jointly met on August 8, 2019 and conducted an "Informational Hearing" on a draft ordinance seeking to regulate plastic bags, straws, and balloons; and, outdoor lighting. No votes were taken. The comments from the public were very interesting. The meeting lasted approximately 28 minutes. Watch the video below.

Click here


 Financial Town Meeting
May 21, 2019

The 2019 Financial Town Meeting was held on May 21, 2019 for the Fiscal Year 2020 budget. The budget was passed in accordance with the recommendations of the Budget Committee and resulted in a reduction of the Tax Rate by 3-cents. The real estate tax rate for FY20 will be $5.93 per thousand. The meeting lasted 21 minutes and can be seen by clicking below.

Click here


2018 Little Compton Election Results
* Final *
November 7, 2018

The chart below represents FINAL RESULTS of the November 6th election.


2018 Rhode Island Election
October 1, 2018



2018 Rhode Island Primary
September 6, 2018

The state of Rhode Island will conduct a primary election for both Democrat and Republican candidates on September 12, 2018. Sample ballots for the Democrats and Republicans can be accessed below.

Democrat


Republican


2018 Financial Town Meeting
Little Compton

Video (Click here)


 School Spending
May 21, 2017

Regarding the increase in the school budget despite declining student head count: 

The reason for all this increased spending? To protect teachers and not children. In the election last fall, the voters elected another "big spender" on the School Committee to add to the two "big spenders" from the previous election. As long as they hold the majority, this bad policy and increased cost will continue.  In addition, while we pay the second highest per student cost in Rhode Island of $20,000+, we now offer non-residents a bargain price of $6,000 per student! Why?  To justify the number of teachers at the school.  That's a real slap in the face to the Little Compton taxpayers and our children in that school.  It is absolutely outrageous! Take a look at the graph below.  It says it all.

At the May 23rd Financial Town Meeting, there will be a request for a secret ballot vote on a motion for level funding of the school. People can vote their conscience in secrecy.

Roy Bonner, LCTA  Board Member.


2016 Election Results
Nvember 10, 2016

Candidates seeking office

Ballot Questions


Truck Tolls!
January 5, 2016

Under pressure from the General Assembly, which seems to be leaning in favor of truck tolls, Gov. Raimondo released her first round of locations of the toll gantries.  It is not a pretty picture (see Providence Journal map below) understanding that there may be more coming.  The members of the House and Senate ought to note the fact that retiring Sen. Ottiano of District 11 (Tiverton & Portsmouth) has been replaced by John Pagliarini Jr. of Tiverton (R) who won by a large margin over James Seveney of Portsmouth (D).  Mr. Seveney would not rule out supporting Raimondo's truck tolls while Mr. Pagliarin did rule it out. There is little support amongst the Rhode Island electorate for tolls especially after the Sakonnet River Bridge fiasco and in view of the fact that there are other plans to repair the roads and bridges without tolls and borrowing money (Pay As You Go). 

 



Speaker Mattiello on tolls in Rhode Island...

On October 1, 2015 Speaker Nicholas Mattiello spoke the annual meeting of the Little Compton Taxpayers Association on the state of Rhode Island.  During the question & answer portion of the event, Speaker Mattiello was asked about where the increased fees in lieu of Sakonnet River Bridge tolls went, and what was his opinion of Governor Raimondo's truck toll proposal.  He made his own case as to why such a project should be rejected.  See that 10-minute portion of that meeting below...


This is a mess of the first order -- the unfunded liabilities from prior debt and commitments are breathtaking and destructive. The pension liabilities have gotten worse -- the assumptions include a 7.5% increase in the trust fund from market investments. This past year alone, it went DOWN and lost money! That formula requires increased funding to not only make up for the loss but to cover current investments. That number will be huge and this will be the second year they have missed the projection!


Town Council
November 19, 2015

The Town Council met on November 19, 2015 to conduct regular business as well as a "Remonstrant's Hearing" during which liquor licenses and entertainment licenses are issued effective December 1, 2015.  Included in the entertainment license requests was one for the Sakonnet Vineyards which has been the subject of complaints due to loud outdoor music during the summertime.

 

The meeting lasted 2-hours, 28-minutes with more than 2-hours devoted to the Sakonnet Vineyards' request.  See below.

 

 


RI Speaker Mattiello Gave Talk
At the Community Center
October 1, 2015

As part of its Annual Meeting, the Little Compton Taxpayers Association sponsored a talk by House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello at the Community Center on October 1, 2015 at 7:00 PM. It was open to the public.




It's Official!
New Transfer Station Hours
July 23, 2015

The Town Council voted unanimously to adopt new hours for the town Transfer Station that would be the same all year as opposed to the current Summer/Winter hours.  As of September 1, 2015 the new hours are:

       
  Sunday Closed  
  Monday 10 AM to 6 PM  
  Tuesday 8 AM to 4 PM  
  Wednesday Closed  
  Thursday 8 AM to 4 PM  
  Friday 8 AM to 4 PM  
  Saturday 8 AM to 4 PM  
       

School Superintendent Reappointed
July 20, 2015

The School Committee reappointed Kathy Crowley as School Superintendent for another year.  The vote was taken in Executive Session and the outcome was 3-to-2 in favor of the reappointment.  Congratulations to Mrs. Crowley.

 


New Transfer Station Hours
July 9, 2015

The Town Council is considering new hours for the town Transfer Station that would be the same all year as opposed to the current Summer/Winter hours.  This is what is being considered:

 

  Sunday Closed  
  Monday 10 AM to 6 PM  
  Tuesday 8 AM to 4 PM  
  Wednesday Closed  
  Thursday 8 AM to 4 PM  
  Friday 8 AM to 4 PM  
  Saturday 8 AM to 4 PM  
       

New Leaders At The School
March 4, 2015

The School Committee replaced Chairperson Polly Allen with committee member Tom Allder as the new Chairperson.  The vote was 3-to-2 with Tom Allder, Peg Bugara, and Lori Craffey voting to make Mr. Allder the Chairperson; and, Polly Allen and Patrick McHugh voting to retain Mrs. Allen.  Also elected under this reorganization were Lori Craffey as Vice-Chair and Patrick McHugh as Secretary.

 

The meeting did get a bit nasty for a while and there were 95 people in attendance.  But in the end, the reorganization was established and the meeting adjourned.  How this will all play out remains to be seen.

 

The following is a video of just the voting part of this even.  It's length is 3-minutes, 53-seconds.  Because of a fan that could not be shut off in the gym, the audio may be difficult to hear over the noise at time.
.

.

The next video is of the debate that took place about changing the leadership.  It lasts 1-hour, 4-minutes.

.

 


RhodeMap RI
December 22, 2014

 

Do you value your property rights? Do you think that the town of Little Compton or any town in Rhode Island ought to control its own zoning ordinances? Do want to have HUD and the State of Rhode Island force low income housing anywhere it wants and for those who occupy the units to pay only 20% of the assessed property tax... meaning that you pick up the remaining 80%. This is a dangerous plan called "RhodeMap RI" which was introduced by outgoing Governor Chafee. The plan is masquerading as an "economic development plan" but it is really a socialistic property rights grab and has nothing to do with economics.

Click here to watch Gary Morse address the Little Compton Town Council about this on December 22, 2014 (Gary Morse, of Barrington, is a retired communications consultant and is active in the debate on RhodeMap RI policies).


SUPPORT THE PLAYING FIELD ON PECKHAM LOT
December 19, 2014

The Little Compton Taxpayers Association supports the project to build a modern day soccer field on the Peckham Lot where the portable classrooms were once located, the renovation of the tennis courts, and the construction of "Figure 8" walking path as shown in the sketch below.  This project is an fine example of the community coming together to fund a public project with little property tax impact which is a good development because all of those paying the property tax will not use the facilities.  We wish to thank the council president Bob Mushen and the Moderator Scott Morrison who have been instrumental leading this effort.  The Little Compton Taxpayers Association board members will be making personal donations. Consider making a donation.

 

 

Click here for the project write-up and request for donations

 

Here are some interesting facts about the project.

  • The project cost is estimated at $650,000

  • The sources of funding are as follows...
        $250,000 from the Rhode Island DEM
        $125,000 from the Municipal Trust
          $62,500 from private donations (already received)
      ★ $62,500 from the taxpayers (May 2014 FTM)
          $75,000 from fundraising ($20,000 already raised)
          $75,000 from matching funds
        $650,000

There is a lot of excavation work and replacing the clay subsurface with gravel such that rain water no longer will collect on the surface of the field.  Additionally, the current plan is for the land to be sloped such that any water run-off will collect at its southwest corner and piped under Meetinghouse Lane to drainage ditches.

The town of Little Compton approved this project at last May's Town Meeting and will get a $650,000 package for $62,500 of taxpayer funding.  Our only concerns, however, are as follows:

  • The cost was initially estimated at $500,000 later revised to $650,000. John Amato, an architectural engineer, has provided a somewhat more detailed estimate of $748,000 which resulted in the project being scaled back a bit.  There is no "new" estimate for the scaled back design.

  • The project definition seems to be a moving target at this point.

  • The future maintenance of the project has not been fully defined.  Part of the project includes an irrigation system needed because of the porous base... the grass on the field would not grow well otherwise.  This means a well, pipes, sprinkler heads, etc.  This is all subject to failure and maintenance costs.  We hope that an alternative base design can be employed with drought tolerant turf so the installation of a costly irrigation system can be avoided.

The concerns stated above will no doubt be resolved.  This is a worthy project for the town at minimal cost to the taxpayers.  Should you chose to make a donation, checks should be made payable to "Town of Little Compton" with the words "Peckham Lot Project" written in the memo line on the check.  Mail your donation to:

Town of Little Compton
Attn: Bob Mushen
P.O. Box 226
Little Compton, RI
  02837


(Ballot Questions below)


School Committee Candidate Forum
 October 24, 2014

The Little Compton PST is sponsoring a "Meet the School Committee Candidates Night" on Wednesday, October 29th, 7:00 PM at the Little Compton Community Center.

Each candidate will have the opportunity to answer predetermined questions. Following the Forum, refreshments will be served and LC citizens will have an opportunity to speak to each candidate directly.

Given that the School budget makes up nearly 2/3 of your tax dollars, it is important that you hear what each candidate has to say as there are 3 positions open with 5 candidates running for them.


We have a new Police Chief
 September 4, 2014


Antone Marion

The Town Council appointed Lt. Antone ("Buzzy") Marion to the position of Police Chielf replacing former Chief Sid Wordell (retired). Farewell Sid and congratulations, Buzzy!

Student Population at Wilbur
 June 6, 2014

In our newsletter of May 14, 2014 we said "In the early 1980's, before the 1990 addition to the old building was put on, there were over 500 students in the school."  What we should have said was "In the mid-1970's, before the 1990 addition to the old building was put on, there were over 500 students in the school. We also should have said, "In the years prior to the 1973 addition, there were as many as 491 students in the school.

There has been some criticism about these numbers.  We do not make up such numbers. They came from the school's March 1974 Annual Report (click here to see it). Going back to the 1969/1970 school year, the student population graph is quite revealing. Click here to see the graph.

The point is this: The current student population is approximately half of what it was in the mid 1970's when, at that time, the 1973 and 1990 additions had NOT BEEN BUILT YET!


Budget Committee Election
May 20, 2014

At the May 20, 2014 Financial Town Meeting (FTM), an election was held to select two members of the 5-member Budget Committee. The results of the voting is as follows:

           Jeffrey Snyder--78

           Robert Goff--73

           Roy Bonner--69

           Hilary Woodhouse--61

           D. Craig Curtis--48

           Al Staebler--38

Congratulations to Jeff Snyder and Bob Goff.  Should any member or members of the committee step down, the successor to the position is the next highest vote-getter according to Section 204 of our Town Charter.


Tax Rate up 4.65%
May 20, 2014

As a result of the May 20, 2014 Financial Town Meeting (FTM), the FY15 budget calls for an increase in the tax rate of 4.65%.  It could have been much higher had not the various departments and the school gone with a level funded budget.  The 4.65% increase can be attributed primarily to the $11.3-Million loan for the school renovation. The Budget Committee and all the Town officials are to be commended for these results.

To calculate the impact on your taxes and assuming you have not made any major improvements on your property, multiply your current property tax by 1.0465 and that will be your property tax for FY15 (July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015).


5.3% to 5.68% Tax Hike
May 4, 2014

At the May 1, 2014 its 1st Public Hearing of the FY15 budget, the Budget Committee concluded its budget analysis and recommended a tax levy that is 5.3% higher than the current year's levy.  Given that the new school loan payments of $850,332 per year (the Town's portion is $510,199) appear for the first time out of a $10,039,732 levy (4.9%),  things could have been much worse if the school and municipal budgets increased to their maximum of 4%.  The Budget Committee is to be commended for its work.  To see the Budget Committee report that will be the basis of voting at the Financial Town Meeting on May 20th, click on the icon below.

Note: The requested budget is 5.68% which will become the increased levy if the Budget Committee's recommendations are ignored. 


You Want Higher Taxes?
April 21, 2014

At the April 1, 2014 meeting of the Budget Committee, a citizen spoke seeking more money for the school even though the School Committee's current request is the same level of funding as last year's request.  She says she wants the taxes to go up and further claims that the summer people also want to pay more taxes!

Click Here to see the actual video of her statements.

Do you agree with her?  If you don't, you had better plan on going to the Financial Town Meeting (FTM) on May 20, 2014 because she may bring her act there along with the Little Compton Community First (LCCF) group to increase the school budget no matter what.  Do you recall this happening in 2005 when a similar group tried to do the same thing and caused the FTM to spill over to three evenings?  Be prepared and make sure to attend the FTM to protect your wallet against ill conceived and irresponsible tax hikes.

Update (4/29/14): An official of the LCCF has indicated to us that the LCCF has no intention of either recreating the 2005 FTM nightmare or trying to increase the School budget at this year's FTM.  With caution, assuming our sources are wrong, we will take him at his word. However, we are preparing to counter any other person/group that tries to increase budgets more than the Budget Committee's recommendation.


School Lowers Its Budget
April 9, 2014

At its April 9, 2014 meeting, the Wilbur & McMahon School Committee lowered its 2014/2015 budget request by $252,000 resulting in a level funded budget.  This refers to the Town's portion of the total budget - it will remain the same next year as the current budget.  But because the State's share of the budget has increased, the total school budget actually increases.  However the taxpayers will not see that increase.

To see the School's FY15 budget, click here.


Budget Committee Meeting

The School Budget

April 1, 2014

The Budget Committee held a meeting to review the Wilbur & McMahon School proposed budget for FY15.  Despite a precipitous fall in student enrollment over the years (see article below), the School Committee has asked for a full 4% increase (maximum allowed by law).  That will cause problems due to the addition of the school loan in the tax levy for the first time ($510K).  It should have added 5% (for a total of 9%) to the levy; however, because of the way the cap is calculated, the Town will only be allowed to increase the levy by 7.1% for FY15.  During the meeting, just before Public Input, the chairman of the Budget Committee, Scott Morrison, provided an overview of the effect of the school's 4% request on the rest of the town.  To hear Mr. Morrison's overview, click here. The video lasts 7-minutes, 28-seconds.


 The School Steps Backwards
March 6, 2014

The Wilbur & McMahon School Committee recently conducted two budget workshops for the 2014/2015 school budget.  Disappointingly, the School Committee and Administration succumbed to pressure to increase the budget beyond what was originally asked for by Kathy Crowley, School Superintendent.  Does this make any sense?  Look at the following graph.

 

It shows a precipitous drop in student population while the teacher count essentially stays the same - a slight upward trend in fact.  There is currently a 1st grade class with only 9 students and another one with only 10 students. Who can say they experienced such a low class size when they went to school?  Most research defines "small class size" as not more than 20 students.

 The declining student population is expected to continue as predicted by two professional demographers and by actual experience. 

 SO THE TEACHER COUNT STAYS ABOUT THE SAME AND THE BUDGET GOES UP?

We don't know what suddenly got into the School Committee and School Administration, but this act is reminiscent of a decade ago when the School Committee and its fraudulent budgets could not be trusted.  "Padding" and "fat" were the words that described those budgets back then.  The new operative word today is "cushion".  This is how a huge surplus built up to over $1-Million in the past.  We call it over taxation.

 It should be noted that Joe Quinn and Peg Bugara voted NO on the increase while Don Gomez, Dave Beauchemin, and Tom Allder voted yes.  Dave Beauchemin is the person who made the motion to increase. They had to take a few moments to figure out where this extra money would go in the budget!  After the vote, Joe Quinn tried to trim some of the "cushion" by proposing that the two first grades of 9 and 10 children should be combined into one class of 19 next year.  He did not even get a second.  He next tried to remove some of the "phantom" students being budgeted for Portsmouth High School (also "cushion").  No second on that motion either.

 Portsmouth charges us $9,428 per student.  Little Compton is now close to $18,000 per student in Wilbur & McMahon. 

$9,428 per student in Portsmouth, $18,000 per student in Little Compton!

In good faith, the taxpayers approved a bond of $11.3-Million to renovate the school ($16-Million when including the loan interest for 20-years of payments).  Now, for that generosity, the School Committee wants even more with a full, unnecessary 4% increase. That is truly outrageous!  When is it enough?

 The following is a comparison of this year's class sizes of surrounding towns with those of the Wilbur & McMahon School:

By its own admission, the School Administration agrees that Little Compton's class sizes are the lowest in the state.  The graph on the previous page goes a long way toward explaining why that is the case.

There is no question that we have some very good teachers in Little Compton.  We just have too many of them.  There needs to be some staff reductions and the budget needs to go down, not up!  If you go along with blindly increasing the budget, then be prepared for a tax hike next year of around 11%.  5% will come from the school loan which shows up for the first time.  4% will be the town government and school.  Around 2% will come from a request of $250,000 to make the Peckham Lot (current location of the portable classroom modules) a top notch sports field and walking path.

CAN PEOPLE ON FIXED INCOME OR LOW INCOME AFFORD THIS?

The "spend more" crowd does not seem to care.  We urge the Budget Committee to stop this insanity.  Our kids place very high in state testing and leave Wilbur School with a very good education.  We cannot see how throwing all this unnecessary funding into the school will change that.  The electors at the Financial Town Meeting should be prepared to level-fund the Schools if the School Committee and Budget Committee don't (by State law, neither the Budget Committee nor the Financial Town Meeting (FTM) can fund the schools less than the prior year). 

MARK YOUR CALENDAR NOW FOR THE LITTLE COMPTON FTM--TUESDAY, MAY 20, 2014