Though it feels like we just finished budget season, forecasts for next year’s budget are already swirling around – and it’s not too pretty, says Town Manager Michael Embury.
The repercussions of statewide pension reform will likely put North Kingstown in an even greater financial bind. According to Embury, NK would be expected to contribute $4 million to $4.2 million more into the system. With reform, Embury estimates this number would only drop to $2.2 million. With a tax cap of four percent for next year, North Kingstown can only raise $2.6 million in additional taxes.
“I need to emphasize that, when and if this package is put together by the general treasurer, you need to start sending emails and faxes to the legislative delegation,” Embury said to the audience.
North Kingstown is also facing a powered through the area at the end of last month. Embury remains hopeful that FEMA will pick up 70 to 75 percent of the cost, however.
North Kingstown will also have to replace two buses used at the soon, totaling more than $50,000. According to Embury, the primary bus – which is only five years old with more than 170,000 miles on it – has a “definite engine problem.” Right now, the town is working with RIDE to get shopping trips done for the seniors.
The North Kingstown Town Council also discussed scheduling a joint meeting with the School Committee at Monday night’s meeting. Last week, the committee requested a joint meeting to discuss the school department’s budget. The school’s budget will also be hit hard by the pension reform, as teacher’s pension obligation costs could rise anywhere from $2.5 million to $4 million, according to Superintendent Phil Auger. The council is tentatively looking at Oct. 17 as the date of the joint meeting.
The council also extended the moratorium on wind energy systems for another 90 days. , was originally only set for six months. Currently, the council is considering until further research is conducted at the state level. Tuesday night, the North Kingstown Planning Commission will discuss wind energy siting and possibly make a recommendation to the town council.
The council also continued a hearing on a proposed village center at Rolling Greens Golf Course until Nov. 7 as it awaits a recommendation from the planning commission, expected at Tuesday's meeting.