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Letter to the Editor: Town Council Member Urges Voters to Approve Wickford El. Bond

Town Council member Chuck Brennan is urging voters to approve a bond to convert Wickford Elementary School.

I am in favor of the bond referendum to . The main reason for being in favor of the project is that the two groups that spend all the tax money (the town government and school department), work in two different locations and have very little interaction.

I believe that both groups would have better working relations if they worked in the same building. We may actually find ways to consolidate some services. I envision perhaps one office responsible for human relations handling employee benefits and other issues. In other words, there is the potential for more efficient operations and cost savings.

The is 123 years old and past it's serviceable life and is not a modern workspace. The was supposed to be replaced 10 years ago, but a decision was made to hold off at that time. This year the town council asked an architect to look at Wickford Elementary to see if the building was viable and give us a cost estimate. He said the building was in good shape and was viable. He came up with a . We asked the Facilities Management and Planning Subcommittee to look at the project. This committee works on the school side to review projects and make recommendations. The committee is made up of all local people with different expertise in the construction industry. They were able to cut almost .

This project would also preserve Wickford Elementary as a town building with continued good use for many years to come. Please come out on September 13 to support this bond.

Chuck Brennan,

North Kingstown Town Council

 

Scott Madison September 11, 2011 at 08:03 PM
Wait a minute. In these economic times with the recession looking to go way into 2012, the townspeople are being asked to back $3.85 Million so people have a better working relationship? You say you MAY be able to find services to consolidate. You cannot identify them BEFORE you are asking us for a vote? How much money will be saved by these consolidated services and how long is the payback to break even on the $3.85 Million? I highly doubt savings of a few bucks on the facilities, IT, physical plant costs, etc... will be realized in any reasonable amount of time to justify $3.85 Million. You cannot even identify what and how much these possible savings would be! How is this for an idea....Tell us what services you will be able to consolidate, tell us what positions will be eliminated in the town government and school department, tell us how much these savings will be and maybe I will consider it. IF we had a $20 Million surplus, sure...feel free to buy yourself fancy new offices so you have a nicer workspace. But until the town and school officials show some better fiscal responsibility I say "NO". My taxes are high enough thanks.... Start thinking and acting like private industry. A CEO would be laughed out of the boardroom if he asked for something like this....
Ed Renehan September 12, 2011 at 10:42 AM
Scott - I agree completely. Plus, I've seen no solid plan for what would happen to the two town buildings to be evacuated as a part of this consolidation, both of them landmarks - the current town hall, and the old library on Brown Street which now houses the building dept., etc.
COL September 12, 2011 at 01:47 PM
I believe that both groups would have better working relations if they worked in the same building. We may actually find ways to consolidate some services. I envision perhaps one office responsible for human relations handling employee benefits and other issues. In other words, there is the potential for more efficient operations and cost savings. Mr. Brennan - In this age of telecommunications, there is nothing but poor process and simple lack of leadership preventing town/school departments from working together. The McGinn turf is a perfect example -- We have school teams that have to use Wilson Park and not even the main HS field but we are going to turf a town park that is currently used by a non-profit program not even run by the town? Was there any life-cycle or joint facilities planning done? I have never seen anything from the S/C that says they did not want to have the HS considered and the new Supt has stated he would support turf field at HS. Here's a thought -- do the consolidation first like towns such as Westerly (single finance department) has done and then come back with the savings and build a new facility.

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