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Dishonest Tiverton 1st Mailing

tivertonfalseSome residents have received this mailing from the group calling itself Tiverton 1st, which is constantly attacking residents and pushing for higher and higher taxes.  This time, Tiverton 1st sets a new record for attempting to mislead the voters of Tiverton.

First, the flyer tells people to “reject budget #2” because “Using $1 million from town savings to pay bills = phony tax relief.”  The 0.9% budget (Budget #2) does not use anywhere near $1 million from the general fund reserve surplus.  It uses just $360,000.  The only time in recent memory that the town budget used $1 million from the reserves ($1.3 million, actually) was in the budget year 2006-2007.  From 2002-2003 to 2007-2008, the town used money from the reserves every single year, and they were all much bigger withdrawals than the one in the 0.9% budget. Wondering who was on the town council back then?  Tiverton 1st co-coordinator Brian Medeiros, Tiverton 1st ally Louise Durfee, and Tiverton 1st Budget Committee member Cecil Leonard.

Second, the flyer also states that “stripping the local increase from schools eliminates all-day K funding.”  Budget #2 does not do this.  Rather, Budget #2 eliminates an unnecessary money grab that the school department does not need.  They’re just using full-day kindergarten as an excuse.  School business administrator Doug Fiore admits on video (available here) that the reason the school committee decided to go forward with all-day kindergarten was that the district wound up with $600,000 in its annual budget because of lower special education costs.  That money isn’t going away in the next budget (or any budget after that), meaning that the district has plenty of money for full-day kindergarten.

Third, the flyer also claims that the bigger budget that the government employees and activists want will “spare all of us years of service cuts, new fees, and higher taxes.”  This might be the biggest fib of all.  Those expensive garbage bags that you have to pay for now to have your trash picked up?  Those started years ago, long before Budget #2.  The recreation fees that Tiverton 1st is warning about?  Watch the April 13 Town Council meeting (here) and the March 12 Budget Committee (here) and you’ll see that the council has already approved higher fees for summer recreation.  You’ll also see that threatened athletic fees have been in the works for a long time, and that the council appears to have had every intention of implementing them for quite some time.  If Budget #2 has any effect at all, it will be to make sure that the money collected through recreation fees will be returned to homeowners through their lower tax rate.

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Justin Katz

Justin Katz, Vice President of the Tiverton Town Council, is a writer and researcher focusing on Rhode Island policy and politics. For more about Justin, see our About page. justin@justinkatz.com (401) 835-7156.

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