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N. Kingstown to Face Difficult Budget Season

It's only September, but forecasts for the upcoming budget season are rolling in.

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.

Govstench September 24, 2011 at 12:14 PM
18 of the 39 municipalities have dropped the exemption on cars to $500. North Kingstown is still at $3,000 but if they have their way, it will go the same as the rest. The tax revenue on the cars goes to the municipalities. First they tax you out of your house and now they want to impound the car. This tax needs to be repealed.
Govstench September 24, 2011 at 12:26 PM
Moody's Investor Service has dropped Coventry's bond rating one notch, citing concerns about its "insufficient" funding of the town and police pension plans. In a report issued Wednesday, the rating agency announced that it was dropping the town's bond rating from Aa3 to A1 and maintaining a negative outlook for the community. "The rating downgrade and negative outlook reflect the continued insufficient funding of both the Town and Police Pension Plans. Is North Kingstown next? These rating agencies are watching RI very carefully.
Steve Sironen October 20, 2011 at 01:41 AM
I am glad to see we have so many people with GREAT ideas about what we should be doing as a town. What that shows me is that there should be a hell of a lot more candidates for TC and SC. Each side of the table is going to blame the other for this financial crisis. Everyone has had their chance in life to choose an occupation to support their future, or their families. Some people went the private sector route, and some the public. You can see what the requirements are for all Police, Fire and all public positions at the town halls. They are held to these standards, and it is not like it was 25 years ago when it mattered who you knew. You have to do the work, yourself, and pass all of the qualifications. If not, you don't get considered for the position. Just like at a computer company, or an investment firm, you have to be qualified for the job. If you are not, then you don't get considered for the job. Run for office if you have all the answers.
Dave October 20, 2011 at 01:41 PM
Mr. Stamm did in fact motion to do so, however, that was only after Dick Welch came into their meeting with spreadsheets of numbers showing the pay cuts the NKSD had implemented, essentially the TC had to be shamed into it. The SC has cut 3 years in a row, the TC only cut pay increases last year after being pushed into it. The TC went to the cap and took all the money 3 years in a row, while cutting the schools to level growth, let's see what they do this year. It's been a real travesty.
Govstench December 29, 2011 at 11:47 AM
To throw some life into this blog, let me add that EP just had a budget commission formed from the state statute passed recently. It also takes the powers away from the City Council and School Committee. They become advisory only. The Dept. of Revenue felt that the financial problems of this city was too great for the overseer to handle. This commission will work on the following areas: update the levy and assessment of taxes, rulemaking or suspensions of rules, adoption of a municipal budget, approval of collective bargaining agreements and amendments to collective bargaining agreements; and making a determination that the powers of the budget commission are insufficient to restore fiscal stability to the city or town. In other words, they are the bosses. If a council or school committee are so mired in their own political differences, their powers will be transfered to a state commission to bring the municipality back. The Manager and the Mayor(President of the Council) are members of this Commission but their powers are limited to one vote each. So if North Kingstown is smart, they will get smart and start cutting out the fat in this budget - also, the school department has some serious cutting to do also. If the contracts have to be reopened, DO IT. Otherwise, the commission will do it for you!

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