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MARCH 4, 2021


At an ADMINISTRATIVE BUDGET SESSION of the Town Council of the Town of South Kingstown, County of Washington, in the State of Rhode Island, convened via video- and tele-conference, in and for said Town on the 4th day of March 2021 at 6:30 PM.


PRESENT:     Town Council

Abel G. Collins, President

Rory H. McEntee, Vice President

Deborah D. Bergner

Deborah J. Kelso

Jessica L. Rose



Also present: Robert C. Zarnetske, Town Manager; Zachary Saul, Finance Director; and Aimee Reiner, Director of Administrative Services.


The Pledge of Allegiance is given.


Council President Collins notes that this evening’s Budget Work Session is for an overview of the FY2021-2022 Human Services and Outside Agencies grant program, and to hear from the agencies about their requests.


Aimee Reiner, Director of Administrative Services explains that there are 12 applications filed. There are also three organizations for which proposed funding is committed: the RI League of Cities and Towns in the amount of $14,826, Celebrations (3 parades) in the amount of $7,000, and the Union Fire District and Kingston Fire District in the amount of $10,000. The application process requires the organizations to submit requests, and each organization will present their request this evening.  


Robert Zarnetske, Town Manager notes that requests for funding for competitive grants total less than last year at $114,950. There are no requests for new proposals.


Joe Tomchak, Assistant Executive Director, Boys & Girls Club of Newport is present and describes the operation of their programs under COVID conditions. They were able to operate their camp summer program, and provide meals to their participants. The request is for $20,000 to fund a small portion of their costs, they are looking to re-enter schools when feasible.     


Joe Viele, Executive Director, Southern RI Chamber of Commerce is present and notes that their level funding request of $9,000 will be used to offset programs such as gift certificates, and weekend operational hours. They have fielded many calls regarding COVID restrictions for travelers, and have provided reusable shopping bags, distributed PPE supplies and provided local businesses with grant application assistance.   


Mary Roda, Executive Director of the Domestic Violence Resource Center is present and testifies that they are seeking level funding in the amount of $5,000 to support their helpline. Their outreach has been most impacted during the pandemic.


Jason Colonies, Executive Director of Education Exchange is present. They provide free Adult Basic Education, GED, ESL, job training, hospitality and aquaculture programs. Their request is for level funding in the amount of $15,000. They now have programs available online.


Kate Brewster, Executive Director, Jonnycake Center of Peace Dale is present and requests level funding in the amount of $30,000. They serve 2,000 people annually, and have purchased the old school on Kersey Road, in addition to four properties from the Welcome House to assist families. Funding will support their food pantry operations. This year they operated the school vacation week food program for 28 weeks.


Susan Jaquith, Board President, Neighbors Helping Neighbors is present and requests funding of $2,000, an increase of $1,000 from last year, to support their free home repair for low income families. Their all-volunteer staff provided repairs 53 homes this year. They have lost a matching donor. 


James Dean Vogel, Board member, Narrow River Preservation Association is present and requests level funding in the amount of $1,950 to support their water quality monitoring and testing.


Southern RI Volunteers is represented by Deb Tanner, Executive Director. The request is for level funding of $2,000. The organization provides independent aging assistance services, delivering meals and groceries and providing transportation. South Kingstown make up 40% of their clients.


MK Whitten, Executive Director, SK Wellness (SWELL) is present and requests $10,000, an increase of $5,000 from last year when they were operating as the South Kingstown Partnership for Prevention in their final year of a 10-year grant program. They work to promote mental health through advocacy and support, and provide help for substance abuse. Funding will support staff salaries for youth development programs at the High School and Curtis Corner Middle School. Ryan Estus, a Junior at South Kingstown High School is present and speaks in support of the High School youth group Rebels Inspiring Heathy Lifestyles (RIPL) and Peer to Peer programs. 


Joe “Tiger” Patrick, Post Commander, VFW Post #916 is present and requests level funding of $6,000 to help support their Washington County Veterans Resource Center.


Ken Tetzner, President, Wakefield Village Association is present and requests level funding of $5,000. The group has worked to clean up Main Street and the along the Saugatucket River. They hope to bring back events like Oktoberfest, Thursday night events and Waterfire.


The Town Manager notes that funding is proposed for the Union and Kingston Fire Districts in the amount of $10,000 to support the scholarship fund. 


Adjourn at 7:55 PM.


Susan M. Flynn, CMC

Town Clerk

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