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Animal Shelter, Curbside Recycling Cut From Upcoming Budget

The upcoming year's budget looks to make stiff cuts, including curbside recycling and the closure of the town's animal shelter.

The North Kingstown Town Council got a look at the latest budget for next year at Monday night’s meeting. Among this year’s cuts are curbside recycling and the North Kingstown Animal Shelter.

Town Manager Michael Embury presented a preview of the budget via slideshow to the council and audience. According to Embury, the town’s budget for fiscal year 2012 includes a 3.36 percent increase – approximately $3 million more than last year’s budget. One figure that stuck out for Embury was the minimal increase in the town’s general fund.

“That needs to resonate with the public,” said Embury. “The general fund is only increasing by $56,175.”

Embury added that “major reductions” were made to keep the general fund where it is, including the closings of the animal shelter. The town will save an estimated $120,000 to $145,000 by closing the animal shelter and another $450,000 by cutting curbside recycling. The proposed budget also shows a $2 million drop in state revenue.

“It’s not getting any better,” Embury added.

The cuts also show a drop in full-time town employees from 2010. The current budget shows 167 full-time employees whereas last year the number was at 192. (In 2001, the number was 205.)

“It’s a fairly dramatic drop,” said Embury. “It’s not anything we haven’t seen in governments in the state or across the country.”

Embury stated the town will not be adding any positions this year and would “probably go lower” than the proposed 167 employees.

The school department’s budget looks to jump by $3.2 million, with $1.5 million of that coming from last year’s reserve, for a nearly six percent increase. In past meetings, Superintendent Phil Thornton forecasted this financial year to be substantially more trying than previous years due to the loss of federal education funding.

Tonight the Town Council and North Kingstown School Committee will hold a joint meeting at the at 7 p.m. to discuss the budget.

Elise Burroughs March 16, 2011 at 11:03 AM
So, what's going to happen to the animals that normally go to the shelter?
Robin Wilson March 16, 2011 at 01:15 PM
Hopefully everyone has the recycling habit and will take their recyclables to the transfer station. I wonder if we will need to extend the hours of the transfer station without curbside pickup.
Wellness Store & Day Spa March 16, 2011 at 02:15 PM
It concerns me a great deal when recycling is cut, not everyone has the ability to go to the transfer station and recycling shouldn't be a choice it should be law. Now our landfills will be further cluttered with recyclables! Surely there are other areas for cuts. Theresia Kelly
MeanE March 16, 2011 at 02:29 PM
Well said Theresia. That was exactly what I was thinking. Will it cost to take recycling to the transfer station? Are we talking about the transfer station in NK on Devil's foot, or are we talking about the one in Lincoln. If we are talking about the one in NK, are they prepared if, god willing, most NK residents bring their recycling there?
Samantha Turner (Editor) March 16, 2011 at 02:51 PM
More than likely they'll go to South Kingstown.
Wellness Store & Day Spa March 16, 2011 at 02:55 PM
No matter where residents decide to take their recycling, without curbside recycling, they may opt to give up and throw it away with their garbage. There are people who are unable to get to recycling, elderly, infirm or people who don't drive or have a vehicle in which they can tote recycling. Again, it should not be an option. NK is showing their short sightedness by cutting curbside recycling. Are they going to take the impetus to collect recycling and transfer it for the elderly? And then there are those who simply don't care about recycling out of laziness or just lack of concern about their environment.
MeanE March 16, 2011 at 03:21 PM
Has the Town Council considered the implications of eliminating curbside recycling? On the Books in RI: § 23-18.9-1: Beginning July 1, 2012 every city or town that enters into a contract with the Rhode Island resource recovery corporation to dispose of solid waste shall be required to recycle a minimum of thirty-five percent (35%) of its solid waste and to divert a minimum of fifty percent (50%) of its solid waste. Right now NK Ranks just behind Middletown, SK and Charlestown for highest percent of recycling and NK is only at 32.6% and 46.8% respectively. I feel that these numbers will be adversely affected by taking away curbside recycling. Is there a fine imposed if towns are not compliant come July 1, 2012? I found the info on http://www.rirrc.org/resident/ I sure hope this is not a done deal.
Wellness Store & Day Spa March 16, 2011 at 03:26 PM
Well, there you have it........what are they thinking?
susan amelia smith March 16, 2011 at 03:31 PM
I'm saddened and stunned by both of these proposed cuts! We need to care for Mother earth and the animals,that through no fault of their own, ended up in a shelter. I am very proud to be part of a community that was first and foremost in curbside recycling and that has a no kill shelter. we can't afford not to care. susan amelia smith
Nkfamily100years March 16, 2011 at 03:54 PM
I have a great idea....Increase revenue! Instead of fighting every taxpaying project that comes across the table lets encourage it. Lets build up open areas in a responsible manner.
Wellness Store & Day Spa March 16, 2011 at 03:57 PM
My sentiments exactly Susan!
Jeffrey Hill March 16, 2011 at 06:14 PM
In addition to the great comments above...without having (or ever had) kids in the NK school system, curbside recycling is one of the few palpable services that emanate somehow from my property taxes, notwithstanding the crumbling infrastructure in the north of town that I drive over daily, the drunk driving patrol at 007 every weekend, the pretty 4th of July fireworks display, and the fire brigade (luckily haven't had to benefit from that yet). If this isn't at least offset by restoring some hours at the Transfer Station to try to maintain recycling rates, I agree that this decision is just more short-sighted policy that'll bring more long-term consequences than short-term savings.
Wellness Store & Day Spa March 16, 2011 at 06:22 PM
How about cutting back the amount of emergency response by the fire dept to known false alarms? I've witnessed firsthand 4-5 fire/emergency response vehicles responding to one false alarms in old buildings on Main Street (some of those buildings have monthly false alarms).......wouldn't it make more sense to first send one emergency response vehicle to ascertain that it is indeed an emergency and then radio for help if needed? In addition, they all stay on site for lengthy time despite knowing it was a false alarm. Maybe I'm naive about these things, but is this really necessary? Isn't this very expensive?
Stanley Spink March 16, 2011 at 07:29 PM
Are they cutting OSCAR pickups? If so, the recycling box at the NK transfer station does not accept open-top cup shaped plastic containers or milk cartons either. OSCAR does. So we can't recycle as much stuff. (So much for NK leading the state in recycling.)
Wellness Store & Day Spa March 17, 2011 at 12:07 PM
Your response is very volatile, and it is not what my message suggested. Nobody appreciates the police and fire departments more than I do, what I suggested was not cutting these depts, but curtailing the response in situations where they are known to be false alarms, this can be ascertained quickly by the first response team. That is not a suggestion to cut any emergency department. You also don't identify yourself, whereas I do. Hmmmmm.....
NKtaxPAyerAlso March 17, 2011 at 01:48 PM
You are 100% correct Wellness. I have deleted my comment. I do not know why they send all these police and fire and ambulances to a false alarm. It doesn't make scenes to me? There must be a reason though. I identify myself by my screen name only. All I need is some one that doesn't agree with my views to show up at my house. People are crazy. I do think it is very nice that you put your store name as your screen name. On a side note I do love your store and have been in many times. :-). All I am saying is The article's title is about the animal shelter and recycling, and some how it turns into people attacking our police, fire and ambulance personal. I would like to see some consolidation to a county wide School, DPW, Fire, Police and Ambulance system. I think we could save allot of money that way. This of course would require our towns and cities to talk to each other and agree on polices. So i don't think this will ever happen. I have donated to the Animal Shelter in the form of food and blankets for the pets. Maybe we can keep it open on a volunteer basis? With donations? Or like I said with the other town departments, have a county wide animal shelter.
Wellness Store & Day Spa March 17, 2011 at 03:50 PM
Thanks for taking the time to clarify and I agree with you. Enjoy this beautiful day!
Dark star March 27, 2011 at 01:50 PM
Great point Mr. Lincoln. The busses run half full while kids are driven or drive. There are so many students driving that they are petitioning for a larger parking lot. The majority of todays parents are soft and raising soft, spoiled kids.

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