Charter Review Commission 2017 Candidate Information

Voting Day

Thank you!  TTA-PAC-endorsed candidates swept all nine seats.

Results
With fewer than 20 provision ballots left to count:

Candidate Votes Percent
Justin W. La Croix 975 48.8%
Nancy L. Driggs 928 46.4%
Michael S. Burk 597 29.9%
Jeffrey E. Caron 923 46.2%
Michael F. Janick 677 33.9%
Richard A. Rom 880 44.0%
Robert D. Coulter 955 47.8%
Gregory B. Jones 535 26.8%
Raymond D. Fougere 874 43.7%
Laura A. Rom 206 10.3%
John A. Perkins, Jr. 128 6.4%
Stephen T. Clarke 889 44.5%
William P. Gerlach 510 25.5%
Jason C. Mello 597 29.9%
Madeline L. O’Dell 184 9.2%
William F. Lopes 899 45.0%
Kimberly A. Sutherland 781 39.1%
David Perry 576 28.8%
Andrea L Souza 656 32.8%
Donna J. Cook 923 46.2%
David J. Paull 578 28.9%
Jennifer L. Joslyn 647 32.4%
Donna W. Edwards 719 36.0%
Michael C. DeCotis 652 32.6%
Total 1,999 100.0%
Where to Vote
TTA-CRC-handoutcard-precinctmap-sm

Questions, problems, observations?  Email or call Justin: (401) 835-7156.

Media and Press Releases
Click to print endorsement card.
Platform
  1. Protect Your FTR: The FTR is working to balance the needs of the Town with the Taxpayers voice and should remain substantially unchanged.
  2. Protect the Casino Revenue: Taxpayers’ ability to control their taxes must include the casino revenue in the FTR/Budgeting process.
  3. Update and Improve the Charter: The role of the Charter Review Commission is to review and consider past experience and public input to recommend improvements to the Charter.
Richard Urban Show 5/31/17
Richard Urban Show 6/7/17
Charter Review Commission Candidate Forum 6/17/17
TTA PAC Press Release 6/22/17, announcing endorsements and platform

TTA PAC ANNOUNCES ENDORSED CANDIDATES AND PLATFORM

Tiverton — TTA PAC today announced a list of nine endorsed candidates for the upcoming Charter Review Commission Election, to be held on July 18, 2017, in Tiverton, Rhode Island. The endorsed candidates are (in order of ballot appearance):

  • Justin W La Croix
  • Nancy L Driggs
  • Jeffrey E Caron
  • Richard A Rom
  • Robert D Coulter
  • Raymond D Fougere
  • Stephen T Clarke
  • William F Lopes
  • Donna J Cook

In addition, TTA PAC announced the following platform, supported by all endorsed candidates. Endorsed candidates pledge to:

  1. Protect Your FTR: The FTR is working to balance the needs of the Town with the Taxpayers voice and should remain substantially unchanged.
  2. Protect the Casino Revenue: Taxpayers’ ability to control their taxes must include the casino revenue in the FTR/Budgeting process.
  3. Update and Improve the Charter: The role of the Charter Review Commission is to review and consider past experience and public input to recommend improvements to the Charter.

TTA PAC is an abbreviation for Tiverton Taxpayers Association Political Action Committee, which is a campaign-focused affiliate of the Tiverton Taxpayers Association, itself a 501(c)(4) organization.

Tiverton Taxpayers Association Press Release 6/22/17, announcing survey questions and answers

TTA PUBLISHES CANDIDATE ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS

Tiverton

The Tiverton Taxpayer Association today announced that it published candidate answers to questions for the July 18, 2017 Charter Review Commission election in Tiverton, RI. On June 13, 2017, the Tiverton Taxpayers Association sent the following questions to all twenty-four Charter Review Commission Candidates:

  1. What entity should have the annual budget and taxing authority?
  2. Should the FTR be eliminated?
  3. Fifty signatures are required to accompany an Elector Petition. How many signatures should be required and in what timeframe?
  4. There is no limitation to change the line item dollar amount on an FTR Elector Petition. Should there be a limitation and what would you propose?
  5. Should Charter Section 301(b)1.) Budget Proposals be altered? If so, please provide details.
  6. Should Charter Section 301(f)6.) Budget Proposals be altered? If so, please provide details.
  7. Should the Budget Committee remain as the recommending body for the school and municipal budgets?
  8. Should casino gaming revenue be allocated outside of the FTR budgetary process?

The letter accompanying the questions stated:

Thank you for being willing to serve our community by being a Candidate in the Charter Review Commission Election on July 18, 2017.

The Tiverton Taxpayers Association believes that the recommendations made by this Commission will drive Tiverton’s fiscal policy and property taxes for years to come. The following questions are being promulgated to all Candidates.

Your voluntary answers to the questions will be published online to offer voters additional clarity regarding your positions on certain issues.

We ask that your responses to these questions be emailed to the address above no later than June 21, 2017.

The Tiverton Taxpayers Association received answers to the questions from twelve of the twenty-four Charter Review Commission candidates and has published the answers on TivertonTaxpayersAssociation.org/CRC2017. In addition, the Tiverton Taxpayers Association extended the date to reply to questions to June 30, 2017.

The Tiverton Taxpayers Association was founded to advance the best interests of the taxpayers of Tiverton, Rhode Island, promoting an affordable and high-quality community for taxpayers and other stakeholders through good government, low taxes, local business growth, and community involvement.

Justin Katz Letter to the Editor 7/10/17

A few years ago, Mike DeCotis and I worked together to persuade Tiverton’s school committee to start all-day kindergarten, and we’ve had some lengthy conversations since then.  I was disappointed, therefore, to see him attack the Tiverton Taxpayers Association (TTA) in a recent letter to the editor.  He criticized us for things that he’s previously told me he agreed with.

With that letter, he proved that he and his three-person political action committee really are on one side of the local divide.  Now, the 24 commission candidates split exactly in half on a basic question of their vision for the town.

Here’s my “vision”: Local government’s role isn’t to plan what everybody can and must do with their property.  The diversity of neighborhoods that I love in Tiverton and Rhode Island didn’t happen because people sat around on committees and decided to put this here and that there.  It happened because people made the best decisions for themselves with their own property.

Where there are stores, they grew because customers wanted what was being sold.  Where there are activities, they persist because people want to do them.  Of course I’d love to see more or less of certain things in town, but my preferences shouldn’t be the law.

As the “Declaration of Independence” puts it, “Governments are Instituted” to “secure” our rights to “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”  Town government provides guidelines and maintains boundaries so we can work out our differences like neighbors.

Twelve candidates for the Charter Review Commission, including the nine endorsed by the TTA, share this understanding and will review the Charter accordingly (see tivertontaxpayersassociation.org/CRC2017).

The other 12 think the role of government is to plan our future.  A handful of people on various boards and committees decide what Tiverton should look like and go about making sure that their vision is the one that wins.  To them, the Charter’s primary function is to give the boards and committees power over us and to make sure that we can’t easily disrupt their plans.

Think of the financial town referendum (FTR), which the TTA-endorsed candidates have pledged to protect.  To the TTA, the FTR empowers voters to decide the town’s budgetary priorities each year through a private ballot, whatever those voters may decide.  In contrast, the other candidates have insisted that the FTR needs significant changes, mostly to make it more difficult for a budget to go in a direction that they don’t like.

That’s what the election on July 18th comes down to, not just for the FTR, but for the whole Charter:  Do we want a rule book that protects us individually and helps us to resolve our differences with our neighbors, or do we want a contract that locks in somebody else’s vision for our town?

If you want the protection and the freedom, these are your candidates: Justin LaCroix, Nancy Driggs, Jeffrey Caron, Richard Rom, Robert Coulter, Raymond Fougere, Stephen Clarke, William Lopes, and Donna Cook.

Endorsement Postcard
Click for printable PDF.

To print only what’s shown, click the image image and press Ctrl-P.

TTA-CRC-handoutcard-front_Page_1

TTA PAC-Endorsed Candidates

Justin W La Croix

Bio

Justin La Croix, a Rhode Island native, was born in Pawtucket, RI. A United States Navy War Veteran who faithfully served as a Hospital Corpsman from 2005 to his Honorable Discharge in 2013, Justin served overseas with a tour in the Middle East (2007) and in humanitarian relief efforts during the Haitian Earthquake Crisis (2009) aboard the USNS Comfort. He received his formal education in the field of Clinical Laboratory Science from the Naval School of Health Sciences in San Diego, CA, and his Associates in Science from The George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and is now finishing his BA in Environmental Science. Justin currently works full time at St. Anne’s Hospital as an independent medical laboratory technologist and has been with St. Anne’s since 2013. Justin was the 2016 candidate for the House of Representatives in District 71. Justin currently resides in Tiverton with his wife Amanda and their four children.

Survey answers
What entity should have the annual budget and taxing authority? I firmly believe that Financial Town Referendum should be the authority regarding Tiverton’s annual budgeting process and taxes.

Should the FTR be eliminated? No. If the FTR is eliminated then the voice of the taxpayer is eliminated as well. I will work to protect the voice of the taxpayer.

Fifty signatures are required to accompany an Elector Petition. How many signatures should be required and in what timeframe? I believe that the current requirement of 50 signatures and 7 days to gather said signatures is adequate and should remain the same. Increasing the number of signatures may lead to only a privileged few or well connected individuals with special interests to gain access to the ballot. Also, State Representatives for the RI General Assembly are held to the same standard in regards to signatures – why would a local town charter review commission require more signatures than a state official?

There is no limitation to change the line item dollar amount on an FTR Elector Petition. Should there be a limitation and what would you propose? No, there should be no limitation to change the line item dollar amount on an FTR elector petition.

Should Charter Section 301(b)1.) Budget Proposals be altered? If so, please provide details. No, Section 301(b)1 ensures that budget proposals are held to a set standard that all potential elector petitions must follow.

Should Charter Section 301(f)6.) Budget Proposals be altered? If so, please provide details. No, Section 301(f)6 clearly states that the budget proposal on the ballot that receives the majority of votes shall be adopted. If the majority of the town feels that any one given budget proposal will better serve the town, then why would a governing body go against the voice of the taxpayer?

Should the Budget Committee remain as the recommending body for the school and municipal budgets? Yes. The budget committee should remain as the recommending body for school and town budgets to ensure that all facets of spending are scrutinized to ensure checks and balances within the local governing bodies.

Should casino gaming revenue be allocated outside of the FTR budgetary process? No. If casino gaming revenue is allocated outside of the FTR budgetary process this could potentially lead to funding being diverted away from tax relief. The current FTR budgetary process is working to keep taxes in low in Tiverton and repairing years of reckless tax increases prior to 2012. 

Speech: Charter Review Commission Candidate Forum 6/17/17
Letter to the Editor 7/10/17

One item within the Tiverton Town Charter that has become a contentious topic of debate is the current signature count (50) required to gain access to the ballot as a valid candidate for the Charter Review Commission.

My belief is that the current requirement of 50 signatures is adequate and respects the right of any citizen who wishes to seek public office. In some recent letters, the idea of raising the count to over 600 required signatures has been proposed and to put that number in perspective current Rhode Island law requires 500 signatures to run for US Congress.

Raising the signature count to ridiculous numbers threatens to silence the voice of hardworking taxpaying citizens who may wish to run for local elected positions, placing dangerous unchecked power in the hands of the well-connected and politically entrenched.

One of the questions on the survey provided by Tiverton Taxpayers Association asked if candidates would consider increasing the number of signatures required, only half of the 24 candidates responded to this survey and only 12 candidates responded to the survey question with a resounding “no” to any potential increase of signature count. By going to the web address below you can see all the tough survey questions answered.

www.tivertontaxpayersassociation.org/crc2017

As for the rest of the candidates who did not respond to the survey, there is no excuse or justification as to why you chose not to participate and your silence speaks volumes. This Charter Review Commission is supposed to be a bipartisan effort to review and improve the Town Charter where appropriate. For any candidate to downplay the importance of taxes or to simply say they are qualified because of rookie political newcomer inexperience is troubling and shouldn’t be taken lightly. The fact that some are citing their political inexperience shows they are not looking to bridge the gap in a bipartisan fashion, rather they are coming in with a specific one-sided partisan agenda.

The Tiverton Taxpayers Association endorsed 9 uniquely qualified and talented group of energetic candidates who have proven they can answer the tough questions and will do a fantastic job ensuring that the Town Charter continues to protect the voice of every tax paying citizen of Tiverton, not just the select or privileged few.

My growing family loves our home town, and on July 18 I will proudly be voting for the following 9 candidates who will protect Tiverton from radical and unnecessary change: Justin LaCroix, Nancy Driggs, Jeffrey Caron, Richard Rom, Robert Coulter, Raymond Fougere, Stephen Clarke, William Lopes, Donna Cook, and I encourage you to do the same.

Nancy L Driggs

Bio

Education: B.A.: University of Pennsylvania. J.D.: UCLA School of Law. Member of CA, MA, and RI Bars (currently inactive member)

Occupation: Retired Attorney, both corporate law and child custody litigation. Member of the Island Photography Group

Years in Tiverton: 18 years

Reason for living in Tiverton: Moved from Bristol in 1999 as my husband and I like the rural feel of the town

Relevant experience: Co-Chair of the Financial Town Meeting Changes Advisory Committee (FTMCAC), 2010-2011. Currently an elected member of the Tiverton Budget Committee since 2014. Founding member of the Tiverton Taxpayers Association.

Reason for being Charter Review Commission candidate: I enjoyed being Co-Chair of the Financial Town Meeting Changes Advisory Committee, which was a major Charter update in 2011.  I understand the process of conducting a Charter review, and would look forward to being involved in another one, and, after a thorough review, getting input from town departments, and the public, as to particular issues any one would like to see addressed, and in what way, whether modified, changed, eliminated, or added, working with others to make appropriate and considered recommendations.    I understand, from my prior experience on the FTMCAC and from my training as an attorney, the care that must be taken in effectuating any recommendations for change, the comprehensive review of all of the Charter that must be considered to see how any particular change might impact other sections of the Charter.  I have answered questions in the TTA questionnaire detailing my position as to the FTR, the Budget Committee, and Casino revenues.

Survey answers
What entity should have the annual budget and taxing authority? FTR.

Should the FTR be eliminated? No.

Fifty signatures are required to accompany an Elector Petition. How many signatures should be required and in what timeframe? 50, in a week (i.e., stay as it is)

There is no limitation to change the line item dollar amount on an FTR Elector Petition. Should there be a limitation and what would you propose? No limitation

Should Charter Section 301(b)1.) Budget Proposals be altered? If so, please provide details. No.

Should Charter Section 301(f)6.) Budget Proposals be altered? If so, please provide details. No.

Should the Budget Committee remain as the recommending body for the school and municipal budgets? Yes.

Should casino gaming revenue be allocated outside of the FTR budgetary process? No.  

Speech: Charter Review Commission Candidate Forum 6/17/17
Letter to the Editor 7/12/17

The following candidates for the Charter Review Commission, though failing to show up for the Tiverton Taxpayers Association (“TTA”) Candidate Forum, and, except for vague answers from two,  not answering the TTA questionnaire, nevertheless have revealing public records:

Perry: Proposed  amendments to Town Charter in 2016: to require 10% of electors signature on any Elector Petition (over 1200) – (Candidate Donna Edwards’ son, Councilman John Edwards, supported the 10% figure); to limit to $200K any elector petitioner change  to the Budget Committee (“BC”) recommendations; and, to eliminate the BC and the Financial Town Referendum (“FTR”), allowing the Town Council to do the budget with no direct voter failsafe.

DeCotis, Jocelyn, Paull  (the trio):  Self-proclaimed “fresh faces”. DeCotis  advocated for all day kindergarten to save his own family the expense and hassle of afternoon daycare, and said “shame” on retirees, or TTA supporters who voted for lower tax increases. He also said the BC level funding of School Department proves we have no regard for the children’s education, but fails to mention the school department’s $3.4M surplus.  Also not mentioned is the fact that the BC just delivered you, the taxpayer, a tax rate decrease. Jocelyn advocates  increasing signatures for an elector petition,  increasing  town employees’ pay, was “appalled” when the BC (as was always planned after hearings ended and budget votes began) removed the “Open Public Forum”  from the agenda  and  approved speakers’-names-only in the minutes   (necessitated by Candidate Janick’s wife, the BC secretary,  drafting  one-sided  minutes against the taxpayer).  Paull :wants increased signatures and  elimination of existing elector petition taxpayers’ rights (remand option); refuses to detail his FTR “facelift”, fails to state that FY17 budget transfers occurred because then BC “tax and spenders” (like the trio) had punished taxpayers for their vote to limit the tax increase; and  removes the taxpayer  direct vote in the use of Casino revenue.  Alarmingly, the trio lawn signs are displayed by staunch union  supporters.

Souza:  Thinks the BC no better than “Stalin, Lenin, or Kim Jung Un”, and “un-American” for removing “Open Public  Forum” (see above), and supported 500 signatures for an elector petition.

Burk: “Yes, I have been a vocal opponent of the FTR…”.

Gerlach: Require 626 signatures (5% of registered voters) for an elector petition.  (US Congress requires 500.)

Sutherland: wants to increase petition signatures, and is “naive” – she does not comprehend the gravitas of CRC recommendations.

Janick:  Increased petition signatures.

Jones:  Threatened closure of his organization if BC did not meet his funding request..

Jason Mello:  Provides no details on FTR modifications, and advocates districting, making it  harder to find quality candidates..The approved TTA Candidates:  Justin W LaCroix, Nancy L Driggs, Jeffrey E Caron, Richard A Rom, Robert D Coulter, Raymond D Fougere, Stephen T Clarke, William F Lopes, Donna Cook support voter rights and lower taxes, have taken a pledge to protect the FTR and protect the Casino revenue, have responded to questionnaires, written many letters, and participated in televised candidate forums.   www.tivertontaxpayersassociation.org/crc2017.

Look for the TTA card insert in this week’s Sakonnet Times, and bring to the polls on July 18.

Jeffrey E Caron

Bio

Education: BS Electrical Engineering, University of Vermont. ScM Engineering, Brown University. ScM Physics, Brown University

Occupation: Engineer and business owner

Years in Tiverton: 47

Reason for living in Tiverton: Proximity to my family, the Sakonnet, and my place of employment, all combined with natural landscape beauty

Relevant experience: Charter Review Commission 2003, Budget Committee 2004 – 2010 (Vice-Chair 2007-2008, Chairman 2009-2010), Financial Town Meeting Changes Advisory Committee 2010-2011 (Co-Chair), Budget Committee 2012, Budget Committee 2016-Present.  Founding member of the Tiverton Taxpayers Association.  Voluntary involvement in numerous issues that have confronted Tiverton since 2003.

Reason for being Charter Review Commission candidate: Although I have significant experience in Tiverton’s fiscal affairs, I find the Charter review process particularly enjoyable – and I consider myself more of a “Charter” person than a “budget” person.  A slight change to the Charter can have a significant impact on the townspeople, making being a Commission member a somewhat humbling experience.  Because the Charter normally directs us, there is a certain irony associated with the opportunity to recommend changes the document.  I look forward to working with others to perform a comprehensive review of the Charter and making substantive, impactful recommendations.  Regarding the FTR, Budget Committee, and casino revenue, please see my answers to the TTA Candidate questions.  I decided about five years ago that I would run for this next Commission, and I cannot wait for it to get underway, hopefully with me as a member.  Thank you for your continued support.        

Survey answers
What entity should have the annual budget and taxing authority? The Financial Town Referendum (FTR) has and should have the annual budget and taxing authority.  The FTR equally distributes that authority to every Tiverton voter, giving each voter advance notice and a direct vote on a secret ballot.

Should the FTR be eliminated? No, the FTR should not be eliminated.  The FTR works very well to
give all taxpayers a voice to control their taxes.

Fifty signatures are required to accompany an Elector Petition. How many signatures should be required and in what timeframe? Fifty signatures gathered in seven days is currently in place and reasonable.  An increased signature quantity may unduly stifle the voice of the taxpayer, especially if the established rate of approximately 7 signatures per day is increased.

There is no limitation to change the line item dollar amount on an FTR Elector Petition. Should there be a limitation and what would you propose? No, there should not be a limitation.  The Petition Originator should have the ability to tailor his/her budget proposal to the financial situation without limitation, and said budget proposal should then be judged by voters on the merits.

Should Charter Section 301(b)1.) Budget Proposals be altered? If so, please provide details. No, Section 301(b)1.) Budget Proposals should not be altered.  As written the tax levy percentage increase is explicitly stated in the ballot question and because voters are instructed to ‘Vote For Only One’ the current FTR process proposes the Budget Committee’s Budget Proposal to be the “default” proposal – possibly be contested by other budget proposals.

Should Charter Section 301(f)6.) Budget Proposals be altered? If so, please provide details. No, Section 301(f)6.) Budget Proposals should not be altered.  The current FTR process ensures that the annual budget and tax levy is approved by a majority of the votes cast.

Should the Budget Committee remain as the recommending body for the school and municipal budgets? Yes, the Budget Committee should remain as the recommending body for the school and municipal budgets.  The elected Budget Committee is the only part of town government specifically charged with considering the ability of the taxpayer.

Should casino gaming revenue be allocated outside of the FTR budgetary process? No, the casino gaming revenue should be part of the FTR budgetary process just like any other revenue.  This will ensure 1) that expenditures are scrutinized by the FTR process (including by the Budget Committee), and 2) that voters themselves will have the opportunity to decide if the casino gaming revenue is used for tax relief.

Speech: Charter Review Commission Candidate Forum 6/17/17
Letter to the Editor 7/10/17

The Tiverton Taxpayers Association (TTA) Candidates for the Charter Review Commission (CRC) pledge to protect the Taxpayers interest (Financial Town Referendum (FTR) and casino revenue) while performing their duties to review and recommend updates to the charter.

Adding four words “…, including casino gaming revenue, …” to Charter Section 1214 will help to ensure that the FTR voters will decide if the casino revenue should lower taxes, and how. And because TTA candidates intend to “protect” the FTR, not replace it, minor improvements to the FTR can be addressed in a couple meetings, leaving many months to perform a comprehensive review of the remaining charter sections as elected to do.

I was elected to the 2003 CRC and a Co-Chair (with Nancy Driggs) of the Financial Town Meeting Changes Advisory Committee (FTMCAC) which wrote the FTR charter change proposal. In addition, I served on the Budget Committee (BC) from 2004-2010 (Vice Chair 2007-2008, Chairman 2009-2010), 2012, and am presently a member of the BC.

Most of the information needed to recommend improvements to the charter is distributed among those who work with the document daily as well as our townspeople in general. If elected to this CRC I will push to set up meetings with all known stakeholders (Town Council, Clerk, Treasurer, Administrator, School Department, etc) and include multiple “Public Input” agenda items. The goal would be to record (in a detailed spreadsheet) the gamut of changes in the first three months of the twelve-month CRC term.

The CRC would consolidate, debate, and where there is consensus draft the charter change proposal language. I expect this part of the process would take up the next six months, which will leave a couple months at the end of the process for final review (including by the Solicitor) before the recommendation package is submitted to the Town Council.

Based upon my 2003 CRC experience, I expect that the charter change tracking spreadsheet may contain 20-40 “raw” charter change entry “ideas” that touch on all thirteen articles of the charter. It will be the role of the elected CRC to transform these into a 10-20 “recommendations”. It is in this part of the process where TTA Candidates will protect the Taxpayers interests.

The TTA Candidates (LaCroix, Driggs, Caron, R. Rom, Coulter, Fougere, Clarke, Lopes, Cook) are highly qualified for the Commission – learn more at tivertontaxpayersassociation.org/crc2017.

Richard A Rom

Bio

Education: Graduated from California Polytechnical Institute, San Luis Obispo, CA, with a BS in Computer Science

Occupation: Principal Systems Engineer with Raytheon Corp., Portsmouth, retiring in 2015 after 28 years.  Software Engineer for General Electric, Syscon, and Sperry Univac.

Years in Tiverton: 13

Reason for living in Tiverton: I moved to Tiverton with my wife, Laura, in 2004 after 25 years in Portsmouth, where we raised our four kids. Taxes were reasonable in 2004, and we wanted more land and less house after our last child left for college.

Relevant experience: Listening to voters of Tiverton while campaigning for a 2016 run for Senate District 12, I spoke with so many people and the most popular complaint by far is the excessive increase in property taxes and the concern for casino revenue.

Reason for being Charter Review Candidate: I will fight to allow Tiverton voters to choose how casino revenue is allocated.  I will also protect voters authority to submit and choose a budget petition (FTR), as well as protecting the Budget Committee’s role in crafting a baseline budget.

Survey answers
What entity should have the annual budget and taxing authority? Financial Town Referendum.

Should the FTR be eliminated? No.

Fifty signatures are required to accompany an Elector Petition. How many signatures should be required and in what timeframe? 50 signatures obtained in 3 weeks.

There is no limitation to change the line item dollar amount on an FTR Elector Petition. Should there be a limitation and what would you propose? No.

Should Charter Section 301(b)1.) Budget Proposals be altered? If so, please provide details. No.

Should Charter Section 301(f)6.) Budget Proposals be altered? If so, please provide details. No.

Should the Budget Committee remain as the recommending body for the school and municipal budgets? Yes.

Should casino gaming revenue be allocated outside of the FTR budgetary process? No.

Speech: Charter Review Commission Candidate Forum 6/17/17
Letter to the Editor 7/9/17

I am running for the Charter Review Commission (CRC). The Town Charter is the document that governs our town and will need careful understanding and consideration for the voters to decide on any recommended changes. My position as a potential commissioner is to protect the FTR as it has been structured, as it is a pure democratic process that puts the power of the purse strings into the hands of every Tiverton voter. The FTR gives all voters the same opportunity to present an alternative budget, why would anyone want to take that away?

Candidate Mike Burk has suggested that the FTR should be changed or eliminated because it is not the most effective way to approve a budget. The FTR process does generate effective budgets as defined by the voters. What effective changes will candidates (like Mike Burk) propose to replace or alter the democratic process of the FTR?

I think these candidates would prefer to grant the Town Council and the School Committee full authority to implement their respective budgets, allowing the tax burden for each taxpayer to be determined without any control by the taxpayer.

Please vote for the Tiverton Taxpayers Association endorsed candidates that will protect the democratic process by allowing all voters to choose the budget. TTA endorsed candidates: Justin W La Croix, Nancy L Driggs, Jeffrey E Caron, Robert D Coulter, Raymond D Fougere, Stephen T Clarke, William F Lopes, Donna J Cook, and Richard A Rom

For more information on who we are and our positions on the issues: Visit our website:
https://tivertontaxpayersassociation.org/crc2017/

Look for the postcard insert in this Sakonnet Times issue, save it, and bring it to the polls on Tuesday July 18.

Watch slate on Cox NCTV-18 Richard Urban Show and TTA Candidate Forum

Robert D Coulter

Bio

Education: BS (Ocean Engineering), U.S. Naval Academy; M.B.A. (Finance & Economics), University of Chicago; M.P.P., University of Chicago; J.D. Roger Williams University

Occupation: Attorney

Years in Tiverton: 13

Reason for living in Tiverton: Good location in region, locally beautiful and diverse, down-to-earth feel

Relevant experience: U.S. Navy; Tiverton Budget Committee; Tiverton Town Council; involvement in various local community organizations; practicing attorney with deep experience in government matters and legal documents/issues in general

Reason for being Charter Review Commission candidate: To ensure voters/taxpayers remain protected through the Financial Town Referendum and that casino revenue be used as the voters decide.  To serve voters, using my government experience and legal skills to protect/improve the town charter (an important legal document) and the process around it.  The Charter Review Commission would benefit by having an attorney voted directly by the people looking out for their interests (which is different from the town’s attorneys which are selected by government bodies).

Survey answers
What entity should have the annual budget and taxing authority? No “entity” should have that authority.  Budgets and taxation should be decided by the people (the voters) through the Financial Town Referendum.

Should the FTR be eliminated? No. Absolutely not.

Fifty signatures are required to accompany an Elector Petition. How many signatures should be required and in what timeframe? I would maintain the current requirement of fifty, which is consistent with qualification to run for local offices.  Fifty ensures that there is enough support to avoid frivolous petitions but not so difficult as to disrupt the democratic process.

There is no limitation to change the line item dollar amount on an FTR Elector Petition. Should there be a limitation and what would you propose? No.

Should Charter Section 301(b)1.) Budget Proposals be altered? If so, please provide details. No.

Should Charter Section 301(f)6.) Budget Proposals be altered? If so, please provide details. No.

Should the Budget Committee remain as the recommending body for the school and municipal budgets? Yes.

Should casino gaming revenue be allocated outside of the FTR budgetary process? No, the casino gaming revenue just like almost all other revenue should be part of the normal FTR process.

Speech: Charter Review Commission Candidate Forum 6/17/17
Letter to the Editor 7/12/17

The July 18th election in Tiverton for the Charter Review Commission will be here soon.  Please watch what the candidates say – or do not say – very carefully.  About half of the candidates have fought against the FTR for years.  Some have done this openly, while others have been vague on their positions.  Some have resorted to personal attacks, perhaps hoping to distract voters from their intentions.

On the other hand, candidates supported by the Tiverton Taxpayers Association have a proven history of advocating for voter rights and lower taxes, and have also promised to protect the Financial Town Referendum and ensure that the voters decide what happens with the new casino revenue.  TTA candidates have responded to questionnaires, taken pledges, written letters, and participated in televised candidate forums.  www.tivertontaxpayersassociation.org/crc2017.  We have been transparent and can be trusted with the important task of protecting voters in the charter review process.

The TTA wants to protect the charter for voters, keep direct democracy in the FTR, and keep taxes under control.  The other side (the folks who brought us such high taxes in the first place) wants to change the charter to eliminate the Budget Committee, eliminate the FTR, and have the government directly control the casino revenue and everything else on budgets and taxes.  Please bring with you on July 18th the list of the candidates you can trust: Justin La Croix, Nancy Driggs, Jeffrey Caron, Robert Coulter, Raymond Fougere, Stephen Clarke, William Lopes, Donna Cook, and Richard Rom.

Raymond D Fougere

Bio

Education: BS Aerospace Engineering, Indiana Institute of Technology

Occupation: Inventor and president, SkiMetrix, Ltd., Tiverton, holding several patents and manufacturing products covered by the patents.

Years in Tiverton: Business 19, residence 10

Reason for living in Tiverton: It’s a very nice place on the water.

Relevant experience: President student chapter American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Started several businesses, therefore I am familiar with challenges of managing cash flow, management, employees, etc.

Reason for being Charter Review Commission candidate: To help ensure the citizens are getting a fair deal from their government provided services, that the governance is applied fairly and to promote harmony amongst the townspeople.

Survey answers
What entity should have the annual budget and taxing authority? The FTR. Let the taxpayers decide.

Should the FTR be eliminated? Absolutely not.

Fifty signatures are required to accompany an Elector Petition. How many signatures should be required and in what timeframe? 50 signatures to mount a legitimate campaign.

There is no limitation to change the line item dollar amount on an FTR Elector Petition. Should there be a limitation and what would you propose? There should be no limitation, but line item dollar amount should be reasonable and reflect the pros and cons of the line item with the taxpayers vs. management in mind.

Should Charter Section 301(b)1.) Budget Proposals be altered? If so, please provide details. No.

Should Charter Section 301(f)6.) Budget Proposals be altered? If so, please provide details. No.

Should the Budget Committee remain as the recommending body for the school and municipal budgets? Yes.  They will be obliged to study the needs of the town and access the tax base to make fair and equitable recommendations.   The town council does not have time to do this.  They are busy with other matters.

Should casino gaming revenue be allocated outside of the FTR budgetary process? No.  That is money granted to the town that is made up of taxpayers and they should decide how it is spent.

Speech: Charter Review Commission Candidate Forum 6/17/17
Letter to the Editor 7/2/17

Let’s face it, the more citizens involved in the political process, the more its complexity increases, exponentially.

Every citizen has equal say, but there are too many of us to carry on debate to its logical conclusions. A pure democracy can often be unwieldy, we’d all be old and grey by the time everyone spoke and then agreed on such a conclusion, which is why we set a date to vote on issues and policy. Whether debate is completed or not, debate ends upon election day.

Many people choose not to debate for whatever reason, and instead choose to elect or appoint someone of like mind to represent them. This modified democracy is called a republic (as in “and to the republic for which it stands”), and we rely on those officials with the expectation they will work in our best interests – often with our tax dollars.

Thanks to the Financial Town Referendum (FTR) in our town charter, the townspeople of Tiverton have a direct vote on their taxes, and thereby don’t absolutely have to entrust town officials with their tax dollars. Through the FTR petition process every voter has an equal voice to both access the FTR ballot with a budget proposal and or vote for the FTR proposal.

Some candidates for the Charter Review Commission complain that other candidates are focused solely on the FTR. As stated earlier, every citizen has a voice and is entitled to express it, but at present the only chatter I hear about the town charter regards the way we decide to be taxed.

The Tiverton Taxpayers Association (TTA) respects the taxpayers’ ability to control their taxes through the FTR process, and the TTA candidate slate plans to review the town charter with the same respect for the taxpayers’ voice, using your feedback before recommending any charter changes to the Town Council.

Please learn more about me and the TTA slate at tivertontaxpayersassociation.org/CRC2017 and on Cox cable NCTV – 18 (Richard Urban Show and TTA Candidate Forum). If you would like to help us by hosting a lawn sign or just want to learn more, email us at info@tivertontaxpayersassociation.org. And there is a postcard insert in this very paper that you can bring to the polls on Tuesday July 18.

I have owned and operated a business in Tiverton for 19 years and I have lived in Tiverton for nine years. Although selling the product I manufacture on Riverside Drive has taken me all over the world, I choose to call Tiverton home because at bottom it is a very nice place to live. This is my first time running for public office and I humbly ask for your vote.

Stephen T Clarke

Bio

Education: BS Industrial Education, UNH

Occupation: Product Development Engineer, Retired

Years in Tiverton: 12

Reason for living in Tiverton: My wife and I moved to Portsmouth, RI 24 years ago to pursue my career. After my children went on to college we moved to Tiverton because there is less development, less traffic and beautiful open spaces and seashores.

Relevant experience: As a product development engineer, I lead multi functional teams that developed various medical devices. Many of the skills needed to successfully deliver new medical products to market through a team approach will carry over to achieving results in the political arena.

Reason for being Charter Review Commission candidate: I want to get off the sidelines and get involved in town politics so that I will better understand how the town is governed and how I can make a difference. By joining the CRC, I will be able to offer my input and the input of other voters into the charter by which the town governs itself.

Survey answers
What entity should have the annual budget and taxing authority? FTR.

Should the FTR be eliminated? No.

Fifty signatures are required to accompany an Elector Petition. How many signatures should be required and in what timeframe? 50 in 1 week.

There is no limitation to change the line item dollar amount on an FTR Elector Petition. Should there be a limitation and what would you propose? No limitation.

Should Charter Section 301(b)1.) Budget Proposals be altered? If so, please provide details. No.

Should Charter Section 301(f)6.) Budget Proposals be altered? If so, please provide details. No.

Should the Budget Committee remain as the recommending body for the school and municipal budgets? Yes.

Should casino gaming revenue be allocated outside of the FTR budgetary process? No.

Speech: Charter Review Commission Candidate Forum 6/17/17
Letter to the Editor 7/2/17

Following rushed charter hearings last summer, the Town Council has now called for a Charter Review Commission (CRC) to be elected with the Financial Town Referendum (FTR) topic front and center. Twelve of the 24 candidates running would put the FTR at risk of outright elimination or changes that reduce the rights of Tiverton residents.

The Tiverton Taxpayers Association (TTA) has warned voters about these candidates, but some people insist that TTA candidates are only concerned with the FTR and will not improve any other sections of the Charter. A moment’s thought proves that the exact opposite is true.

Records show that the original drafting of the FTR began soon after the May 2010 Financial Town Meeting and took just about a year. Anyone who remembers that year knows it was very intense for those involved — and tense for the community watching.

Revamping or replacing the FTR will be just as big a task as it was in 2010 – 2011. It is a significant undertaking, and is so critically important to the functioning of the town that tremendous effort and attention will be needed to try to get it right.

Ask yourself: How will a CRC that takes on that monumental task have any time to perform the review of the rest of the Charter?

Answer: It won’t.

The TTA candidates pledge to “protect” the FTR, not replace it. This will free us up for most of the year to perform the charter review we were elected to do.

The dozen candidates who dislike the FTR will be bogged down for the year in myriad complex (and political) issues. They will find themselves in controversy and debate for months. How does this help the Charter? Or the townspeople?

There are two options:

Vote for the TTA slate and keep the FTR intact, clarify a single sentence regarding money from the casino, and spend the next 11 months improving all the other sections of the Charter. This will produce continued taxpayer control over taxes, including revenue from the casino, and a greatly improved Charter.

Vote for some combination of the other candidates and burn up the bulk of the year forming a new budgeting and taxing process that will face fierce political opposition on the November 2018 ballot, add in some provisions for allocating the casino money for spending off the books, and rush the last month to cram in a year’s work on the Charter. This will produce a likelihood of higher taxes, including minimal tax relief from the casino, and a haphazard review of the Charter.

Please learn about the TTA candidate slate (La Croix, Driggs, Caron, Rom, Coulter, Fougere, Clarke, Lopes and Cook) at tivertontaxpayersassociation.org/crc2017. It is composed of attorneys, engineers, business owners, and both past and present elected taxpayers — all ready to spend the year improving the charter, not replacing the FTR. Thank you for bringing the postcard inserted in this paper to the polls on Tuesday, July 18.

William F Lopes

Bio
My name is Bill Lopes. I have owned property in Tiverton for 19 years and moved to Tiverton after my retirement in 2003.  My wife and I wanted a tranquil  coastal community to live out our retirement, close to friends and family in the area.  My education includes two Masters Degrees, one in Mechanical Engineering, one in Business Administration.  As a retired Technical Executive, my 37 years experience in multi-million dollar Program Management offers much relevant experience that can be valuable as a member of the Charter Review Commission.  I would like to give back to the Tiverton community, and that is why i have become a candidate for the commission.
Survey answers
What entity should have the annual budget and taxing authority? The FTR should not be changed – keep the FTR.

Should the FTR be eliminated? No.

Fifty signatures are required to accompany an Elector Petition. How many signatures should be required and in what timeframe? Keep at 50 signatures.

There is no limitation to change the line item dollar amount on an FTR Elector Petition. Should there be a limitation and what would you propose? No.

Should Charter Section 301(b)1.) Budget Proposals be altered? If so, please provide details. No.

Should Charter Section 301(f)6.) Budget Proposals be altered? If so, please provide details. No default.

Should the Budget Committee remain as the recommending body for the school and municipal budgets? Yes, keep the budget committee.

Should casino gaming revenue be allocated outside of the FTR budgetary process? No.

Speech: Charter Review Commission Candidate Forum 6/17/17
Letter to the Editor 7/3/17

The Tiverton Casino Revenue is a major opportunity for Tiverton residents to put the town’s financial house in order after many years of poor fiscal management and bad decision making, resulting in a doubling of taxes in ten years and our town government living beyond our means. The casino financials are significant – Tiverton will receive $4 million annually of which approximately $1 million will be from taxes and fees, and $3 million guaranteed from gaming. This total represents approximately 10% of our tax levy – enough to provide significant tax relief for the weary property owners of Tiverton, and enough to begin to deal with financial issues in the town.

But now we hear that the establishment, some responsible for the past poor management of the town, want to “allocate” the gaming revenue away from the control of the taxpaying voter. They do not want to include that money into the general fund which allows you the taxpayer to decide on priorities by a town-wide vote in the Financial Town Referendum (FTR).

When do we as taxpayers say enough is enough? We have had too many back room deals (Lt. Panell is the latest) and pet project areas to let such a large financial amount of money be subject to the whims and fancies of our Town Council, department managers, and entrenched interest groups.

In letting the collective judgment of our Tiverton taxpaying voters decide how to spend this annual revenue all will have a say in how to best utilize this money for much needed tax relief, for our seniors, for our young couples eking out a living, and for our long-time residents. For the first time in a generation, Tiverton will have a revenue total which can satisfy our legitimate needs, and provide significant tax relief. Then maybe we can return to civil discussion between our neighbors, friends and associates who can stop fighting about the distribution of lean resources. Then maybe there will be no more leaking roofs, poorly maintained public buildings, pot holed roads, old vehicles, and excessive debt.

I urge you to vote for TTA supported candidates (Justin La Croix, Nancy Driggs, Jeffery Caron, Richard Rom, Robert Coulter, Raymond Fougere, Stephan Clarke, William Lopes, and Donna Cook). Each of them offers a unique perspective which forms a well-rounded and highly skilled slate. Each has taken a pledge to 1) Protect your FTR 2) Protect the Casino Revenue and 3) Update and Improve the Charter with the input of others. See their qualifications at https://tivertontaxpayersassociation.org/crc2017/.

Donna J Cook

Bio

Education: Graduate of Tiverton High School, graduate of RI Junior College (CCRI) License Practical Nurse program, graduate of American Eagle Airlines Flight Attendant School

Occupation:  Retired

Years in Tiverton: Over 35 years

Reason for living in Tiverton:  Grew up here, met my late husband at Tiverton High School, raised my family, love the area

Relevant experience: Raised 3 children and have 8 grandchildren.  Served on the Juvenile Hearing Board, Member of the Budget Committee for 3 years. As a LPN, I was a supervisor and charge nurse of nursing units; as a flight attendant, I served as Boston based AFA-CWA Local Executive Council President and was a Member of American Eagle Master Executive Council and AFA-CWA Board of Directors.   I believe my experience and the skills I have acquired have given me an understanding of contracts, policies, laws, and the Town Charter.

Reason for being Charter Review Commission candidate: I’m seeking a seat on the commission because I became very alarmed by the recent forming of the Casino Sub-Committee, which might “allocate” the casino gambling money outside of the Financial Town Referendum (FTR) budget approval process.  I’m also concerned that during last year’s Town Council Hearings at Tiverton High School, it became very clear that the CRC was going to be used to weaken or eliminate the FTR and make it difficult for taxpayers to control their taxes.  I will thoughtfully and carefully review the Charter, listening to suggestions from town committees, officials, and residents of Tiverton.

Survey answers
What entity should have the annual budget and taxing authority? FTR.

Should the FTR be eliminated? No.

Fifty signatures are required to accompany an Elector Petition. How many signatures should be required and in what timeframe? The present 50 signatures is fine.  50/7 days to gather the required signatures

There is no limitation to change the line item dollar amount on an FTR Elector Petition. Should there be a limitation and what would you propose? No.

Should Charter Section 301(b)1.) Budget Proposals be altered? If so, please provide details. No.

Should Charter Section 301(f)6.) Budget Proposals be altered? If so, please provide details. No.

Should the Budget Committee remain as the recommending body for the school and municipal budgets? Yes.

Should casino gaming revenue be allocated outside of the FTR budgetary process? No.

Speech: Charter Review Commission Candidate Forum 6/17/17
Letter to the Editor 7/3/17

Last week Charter Review Commission (CRC) candidate, Andrea Souza, tried to explain her rationale for saying the Budget Committee (BC) was “no better than Stalin, Lenin, or even Kim Jung Un.”  There is no rationale to compare Budget Committee(BC) members to murderers.  It is offensive and hateful speech.  Is this how she is going to behave on the CRC?

Ms. Souza failed to mention that when the BC began the “Open Public Forum” it also discussed ending it when the BC voting began, that no comments were made at four of the meetings, and only 12 people spoke in all.  Little of the public comment was about the budget, but rather became a platform for hateful angry rants and personal attacks often filled with false statements toward BC members.

Through all of it, the BC lowered the tax rate by seven cents for all taxpayers.  This obviously upset some so much that they decided to run for the CRC to make sure tax decreases don’t happen again.

It is interesting to note that she, along with most of her pseudo- slate, will not answer the Tiverton Taxpayer Association (TTA) candidate questions, including one that asked what the FTR Elector Petition signature requirement should be (currently 50 signatures under the Charter).  A review of public hearing minutes from last summer shows that she advocated for 500 signatures.  For all the complaining about “ending” public comment, this candidate obviously has no problem “ending” the voice of the taxpayer through the elector petition process.

Two of the three “trio” candidates (Ms. Joselyn and Mr. Paull) also refused to answer the pointed TTA questions.  The third, Mr. DeCotis, did find the time to post a photo of himself on Facebook with his new light blue sign, literally posing with two “trolls” who he claims support the “trio” – it’s all online.  This is serious business – advocating for changes to the charter that will increase taxes is not a joke.  His time would be better spent answering the TTA questions.

Others who “answered” the questions were vague and noncommittal.  The public record overwhelmingly shows that certain candidates seek to eliminate the FTR or minimize the voice of the taxpayer to achieve higher taxes.

The TTA endorsed candidates who pledge to strengthen the voice of the taxpayer, not weaken it, and to perform a thorough and meaningful review of the charter.  Please learn about the TTA candidates at tivertontaxpayersassociation.org/crc2017 or on COX cable TV channel 18 where TTA candidates are featured on the Richard Urban Show as well as the TTA Candidate Forum.

Other Candidates

Laura A Rom

Survey answers
What entity should have the annual budget and taxing authority? The Financial Town Referendum works and should remain the entity for the voters of Tiverton that allows all voters the same opportunity, with equal process requirements to submit any budget amount.

Should the FTR be eliminated? Absolutely not.

Fifty signatures are required to accompany an Elector Petition. How many signatures should be required and in what timeframe? 50 signatures obtained in 7 days. This petition process should not be made more difficult for voters.

There is no limitation to change the line item dollar amount on an FTR Elector Petition. Should there be a limitation and what would you propose? No.

Should Charter Section 301(b)1.) Budget Proposals be altered? If so, please provide details. No.

Should Charter Section 301(f)6.) Budget Proposals be altered? If so, please provide details. No.

Should the Budget Committee remain as the recommending body for the school and municipal budgets? The Budget Committee should remain the budget recommending. The 11-member elected non-partisan committee works and should remain intact.

Should casino gaming revenue be allocated outside of the FTR budgetary process? The Casino revenue should go through the same FTR process, allowing the voters to decide how to allocate the funds. I absolutely disagree with any casino revenue going into a “slush fund” for discretionary allocation by any town board, committee or commission without the approval of the voters.

John A Perkins Jr

Survey answers
What entity should have the annual budget and taxing authority? Ultimately the FTR.

Should the FTR be eliminated? No.

Fifty signatures are required to accompany an Elector Petition. How many signatures should be required and in what timeframe? 50 signatures in a week.

There is no limitation to change the line item dollar amount on an FTR Elector Petition. Should there be a limitation and what would you propose? No.

Should Charter Section 301(b)1.) Budget Proposals be altered? If so, please provide details. No.

Should Charter Section 301(f)6.) Budget Proposals be altered? If so, please provide details. No.

Should the Budget Committee remain as the recommending body for the school and municipal budgets? Yes.

Should casino gaming revenue be allocated outside of the FTR budgetary process? No.

Madeline L O’Dell

Survey answers
What entity should have the annual budget and taxing authority? There is no question in my mind that the Budget Committee should decide the annual budget and be the taxing authority.  Anyone who has been on the BC knows the Town Council goes over the budget but does not do it in depth.  We on the BC have found many thousands of dollars of mistakes made by the Town Council in reviewing the budget, as they take everything they see at face value and do not ask questions.  Sometimes the Dept Heads make mistakes and the BC can find them.

Should the FTR be eliminated? As I have stated in my recent LTE, the FTR works.  A few people put in an alternate budget without even consulting the Charter, hence, they now want to get rid of the FTR.  Give me a break.  The FTR was a great addition to our budget process and should not be touched.

Fifty signatures are required to accompany an Elector Petition. How many signatures should be required and in what timeframe? Fifty signatures is plenty.  The time frame that have now is a little skimpy but for simplicity sake, I say keep that as it is.  Anyone who thinks 50 signatures is not enough, has obviously never gone around and gotten 50!  Sometimes two or three take hours to obtain if you stop and chat with the people signing.

There is no limitation to change the line item dollar amount on an FTR Elector Petition. Should there be a limitation and what would you propose? Again, I think this part of the FTR process works.  If you do not like what someone is proposing you can always put in your own numbers so…

Should Charter Section 301(b)1.) Budget Proposals be altered? If so, please provide details. No.

Should Charter Section 301(f)6.) Budget Proposals be altered? If so, please provide details. No.

Should the Budget Committee remain as the recommending body for the school and municipal budgets? Again, I feel the BC works.  The BC to me knows the budget inside and out before it is done!  You eat, drink, and sleep it for those few months, so who better to decide but the BC!

Should casino gaming revenue be allocated outside of the FTR budgetary process? I feel it is very dangerous for the casino gaming revenue to be allocated outside the FTR budgetary process.  It is revenue coming into the town just like any other revenues, why do anything different with it?  If we go outside the FRT budgetary process and say the Town Council decides where this money goes, I think it would be a very, very bad thing.  As in the case of this particular Council, a lot of them are first timers and do not know what they are doing (just my opinion), and therefore should NOT decide how this money is spent.

Kimberly A Sutherland

Survey answers

What entity should have the annual budget and taxing authority? Without the benefit of research and discussion regarding the
annual budget and tax authority options available, and their appropriateness for our town, it would be premature for me to answer this question, presently. I’m open to exploring options and listening to fellow commission members and residents for their opinions and reasoning.

Should the FTR be eliminated?  That’s a difficult question! I’m grateful that we’re no longer subject to the headache that was the Town Financial Meeting. The FTR has certainly streamlined our budget process. I do have questions about some of the details about elector petitions and timelines. I look forward to asking those questions and sharing thoughts with fellow commission members and residents.

Fifty signatures are required to accompany an Elector Petition. How many signatures should be required and in what timeframe? As I mentioned in the previous question, I do have some questions about the details. I do think that if the Elector Petition remains a priority for Tiverton residents, that there ought to be more than 50 signatures to carry the nomination. I cannot specify what number sounds better. I’d like to find out what the best practices are for this type of action. As far as timelines go, I think that any citizen submitting an Elector Petition should be given more time to craft the document before presenting it to the Board of Canvassers for inclusion on the ballot. Such an important proposal requires time by the Elector to employ due diligence in making a thoughtful alternative to the Budget Committee’s proposed budget.

There is no limitation to change the line item dollar amount on an FTR Elector Petition. Should there be a limitation and what would you propose? This is another difficult question! I’m unsure as to whether or not a limitation would be prudent.  I would need to hear the pros and cons of such an action before rendering an opinion.

Should Charter Section 301(b)1.) Budget Proposals be altered? If so, please provide details. A complete review and discussion of the components of the budget proposal template should be conducted before this question can be answered.

Should Charter Section 301(f)6.) Budget Proposals be altered? If so, please provide details.  The definitive answer – maybe! Although it hasn’t been an issue the past few years, there is the possibility that if a ballot containing four or more budget choices was a reality, there could conceivably be a winning budget proposal that wins with far less than 50% of the voter turnout. I’m not sure that we, as citizens, would be satisfied with a budget won with a mere (for the sake of argument) 30% of the popular vote.

Should the Budget Committee remain as the recommending body for the school and municipal budgets?  Honestly, a lot of research and discussion needs to be done before I could answer that question. There are so many models for town budgets and we need to be able to discuss with one another the pros and cons of our current budget template and whether or not there’s a better way to construct a responsible yearly budget.

Should casino gaming revenue be allocated outside of the FTR budgetary process?  I don’t see that casino gaming revenue is relevant to this commission, as the casino has not yet been built. I would think that would be more appropriate to address in another six years when the 2023 Charter Commission convenes.

Michael F Janick

Survey answers

What entity should have the annual budget and taxing authority? Tiverton voters should have the authority for annual budget and taxing authority. But I am not convinced that authority could not be wielded within the framework of a Budget Committee making recommendations or the Town Council making decisions. In both cases, Tiverton voters will have had input through the election process.

Should the FTR be eliminated? No.

Fifty signatures are required to accompany an Elector Petition. How many signatures should be required and in what timeframe? I feel 50 is too few but I am not committed to a final number. I will listen to all arguments as to what the actual number of signatures should be and support the most sensible suggestion.

There is no limitation to change the line item dollar amount on an FTR Elector Petition. Should there be a limitation and what would you propose? I do not currently have a position on this subject as it is currently not a topic within the Charter.

Should Charter Section 301(b)1.) Budget Proposals be altered? If so, please provide details. As currently written, Section 301(b)1 does not cause me concern. However I reserve the right, if a sensible argument is made to alter this provision, to revisit this provision.

Should Charter Section 301(f)6.) Budget Proposals be altered? If so, please provide details. As currently written, Section 301(f)6 does not cause me concern. However I reserve the right, if a sensible argument is made to alter this provision, to revisit this provision.

Should the Budget Committee remain as the recommending body for the school and municipal budgets? There does need to be some form of recommending body for school and municipal budgets to properly evaluate budgets that are submitted for consideration. Absent an alternative, the Budget Committee has been appropriate to perform this task.

Should casino gaming revenue be allocated outside of the FTR budgetary process? I have heard several possible uses for the gaming revenue and each has merit in some form. I do not currently have a position on the potential use of this revenue that has not yet been realized.

Michael C DeCotis (has not answered)

Jennifer L Joslyn (refused to answer)

David J Paull (refused to answer)

Jason C Mello (has not answered)

William P Gerlach (has not answered)

Gregory B Jones (has not answered)

David Perry (has not answered)

Andrea L Souza (refused to answer)

Donna W Edwards (has not answered)

Michael S Burk (has not answered)