MARCH 8, 2021
At a WORK SESSION of the Town Council of the Town of South Kingstown, County of Washington, in the State of Rhode Island held via video- and tele-conference, in and for said Town on the 8th day of March 2021 at 6:00 PM.
PRESENT: Abel G. Collins, President
Rory H. McEntee, Vice President
Deborah D. Bergner
Deborah J. Kelso
Jessica L. Rose
Robert Zarnetske, Town Manager begins reviewing the Budget Message. The Town has received no solid numbers from the state with regard to revenue projections. Some revenues were higher than expected this past year, such as real estate recording fees and conveyance taxes.
Zachary Saul, Finance Director notes that the state revenues are the biggest uncertainty in the budget. The meals and beverage taxes could improve from what is estimated.
The Town Manager notes that most Town fees were not dramatically impacted with the exception of the Parks and Recreation programs. Revenues are projected on a partial return to pre-COVID levels.
The Finance Director notes that the School Department has requested an increase of $1,058,301 or 1.89% in the Property Tax Transfer, but the Town has proposed level funding. Additional federal revenues are anticipated for this coming year, but those may be tied to restrictions. The Town must provide a maintenance of effort. Grant funds can be used to augment programs.
Discussion ensues relative to a projected surplus of less than $300,000 at year end. Undesignated Funds can be used to offset tax increases. Discussion ensues relative to potential operational savings, the cost of school facilities bonds, and maintaining level tax rates. The Undesignated Fund Balance will be important for future tax stabilization. This budget proposes the use of $880,000 from the Undesignated Fund Balance.
Discussion ensues relative to the school’s ability to provide operational savings.
The Finance Director notes that the Town’s General Fund is proposed at a 1.1% increase, or $320,000. Departments maintained mostly level funding.
Discussion ensues relative to holding property taxes to the current rate.
The Town Manager discusses budget options for the Personnel Department functions.
Discussion ensues relative to the Town Council’s Goals and Objectives. The Council members are asked to send any revisions or recommended changes to the Town Manager for compilation.
The Town Council interviews Helen R. DiSanto relative to her interest in being reappointed to the Board of Canvassers. Council Vice President McEntee reads a letter from Michael McEntee, Chair of the Town Democratic Committee, recommending her reappointment. It is noted that today is International Women’s Day and Mrs. DiSanto is thanked for her contributions by Councilwomen Bergner and Rose.
The Town Council interviews Dan Kimber relative to his interest in serving on the Economic Development Committee.
The Town Council interviews Susan M. Walsh relative to her interest in serving on the Economic Development Committee or the Zoning Board of Review.
Discussion ensues relative to New Business Item 11G requesting the Secretary of State to place a municipal bond authorization referendum question on a May 4, 2021 ballot. Discussion ensues relative to the scheduling of the School Facilities bond referendum. The Town’s enabling legislation must be passed by the General Assembly and state election filing deadlines must be met. Final approval by the School Building Authority of the Stage II application submitted to the RI Department of Education is expected on May 17, 2021. Discussion ensues relative to deadlines for qualifying for additional state reimbursement bonuses. Discussion ensues relative to modifying the date of the bond referendum.
Convened to Regular Session.
Susan M. Flynn, CMC
MARCH 8, 2021
At a REGULAR SESSION of the Town Council of the Town of South Kingstown, County of Washington, in the State of Rhode Island, held via video- and tele-conference, in and for said Town on the 8th day of March 2021 at 7:30 PM.
PRESENT: Abel G. Collins, President
Rory H. McEntee, Vice President
Deborah D. Bergner
Deborah J. Kelso
Jessica L. Rose
The Pledge of Allegiance to the flag is led by Girl Scouts from Troop 113 and Troop 615 in English and Spanish.
Roll Call is taken and all members are present.
UNANIMOUSLY VOTED: to adopt a proclamation recognizing Girl Scout Week in South Kingstown, as follows:
GIRL SCOUT WEEK
MARCH 7 – MARCH 13, 2021
WHEREAS, Friday, March 12, 2021 marks the 109th anniversary of Girl Scouts of the U.S.A., founded by Juliette Gordon Low in 1912 in Savannah, Georgia; and
WHEREAS, through Girl Scouting, girls grow in courage, confidence and character, and learn to make the world a better place; and
WHEREAS, throughout its long and distinguished history, Girl Scouts – the pre-eminent organization for girls – has inspired millions of girls and women with the highest ideals of character, conduct and patriotism; and
WHEREAS, Girl Scouting takes an active role in increasing the interest and skill levels of today’s youth in math, science and technology careers and to fulfill our country’s economic needs; and
WHEREAS, through participation in Project Undercover, a council wide community service project, every girl will learn that she can make a change for the better in her community; and
WHEREAS, the Girl Scout cookie sale is the world’s largest girl-led business, teaching financial literacy to girls of all ages.
WHEREAS, the Girl Scouts of Southeastern New England which serves 4,800 girls in the Rhode Island area will be celebrating 109 years of an American tradition with more than 2.5 million current Girl Scout members nationwide.
NOW, THEREFORE WE THE TOWN COUNCIL OF THE TOWN OF SOUTH KINGSTOWN do hereby proclaim the week of March 7-13, 2021 as Girl Scout Week in the Town of South Kingstown and urge our citizens to support Girls Scouts in their endeavors.
Council President Collins reviews the access and call-in procedures for the public to view and/or participate in this evening’s virtual meeting.
B. Regular Session: UNANIMOUSLY VOTED: that the minutes of the Regular Session held on February 22, 2021 are accepted, approved and placed on file.
C. Closed Executive Session: UNANIMOUSLY VOTED: that the minutes of the Closed Executive Session held on February 22, 2021 are accepted.
UNANIMOUSLY VOTED: to approve the Consent Agenda as indicated by (CA) on same, with the exception of Communication Item 7B.
On a motion by Councilwoman Bergner, seconded by Councilwoman Rose, it is
UNANIMOUSLY VOTED: to add the topic of scheduling a Closed Executive Session to the Agenda for discussion of matters related to personnel.
(CA) 6C. UNANIMOUSLY VOTED: to grant Victualling and Holiday Sales Licenses to B Smooth, 99 Fortin Road, Unit 103, Kingston, RI 02881. Application by Timothy Pickard, Owner, 908 Boston Neck Road, Narragansett, RI 02882; Renewal. License No. 61976.
(CA) 7E. UNANIMOUSLY VOTED: that an email dated March 1, 2021 from Wayne Woodbury concerning minimal separation of structures at the Blackbeard’s Homeowners Association trailer park is received, placed on file, and referred to the Building Official.
(CA) 7F. UNANIMOUSLY VOTED: that a News Release from the US Environmental Protection Agency announcing that the South Kingstown Wastewater Treatment Facility has received the 2020 Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant Excellence Award for New England is received and placed on file.
(CA) 7H. UNANIMOUSLY VOTED: that any communication added to the Agenda subsequent to this is hereby added by majority vote, in accordance with RIGL §42-46-6 (b) Notice --… “Nothing contained herein shall prevent a public body, other than a school committee, from adding additional items to the agenda by majority vote of the members. Such additional items shall be for informational purposes only and may not be voted on except where necessary to address an unexpected occurrence that requires immediate action to protect the public or to refer the matter to an appropriate committee or to another body or official.”
(CA) 11I. UNANIMOUSLY VOTED: that any New Business added to the Agenda subsequent to this is hereby added by majority vote, in accordance with RIGL §42-46-6 (b) Notice --… “Nothing contained herein shall prevent a public body, other than a school committee, from adding additional items to the agenda by majority vote of the members. Such additional items shall be for informational purposes only and may not be voted on except where necessary to address an unexpected occurrence that requires immediate action to protect the public or to refer the matter to an appropriate committee or to another body or official.”
UNANIMOUSLY VOTED: to grant a Miscellaneous Permit to conduct a portion of the Bike MS: Ride the Rhode in South Kingstown on Saturday, June 12, 2021 to the National MS Society, 101A First Avenue, Suite 6, Waltham, MA 02451 subject to the execution of a hold harmless agreement indemnifying the Town, issuance of a certificate of insurance naming the Town as an additional insured for the event in the amounts specified by the Finance Director, and approval by the RI Department of Transportation. Application by Emily Rivera, Senior Manager, Event Production; Renewal. License No. 69483.
UNANIMOUSLY VOTED: to grant Victualling and Holiday Sales Licenses to Sumo Sushi, Inc. d/b/a Sumo Sushi, 99 Fortin Road, Unit 133, Kingston, RI 02881 subject to RI Department of Health approval. Application by James Towers, Accountant, 80 Gateway Road, North Kingstown, RI 02852; New. License No. 69836.
A. UNANIMOUSLY VOTED: that a resolution adopted February 17, 2021 by the Coventry Town Council proposing an amendment to RIGL §44-5-2 Levy and Assessment of Taxes, Maximum Levy to add section (d)(5) relative to computation of the 4% municipal tax levy cap is received and placed on file.
UNANIMOUSLY VOTED: that an email dated February 23, 2021 from Laura Lee Costello, Executive Director providing an update on the South Kingstown Housing Authority’s laundry development project is received and placed on file. The Town Council directs that the Executive Director be invited to attend a future meeting to update the Town Council.
UNANIMOUSLY VOTED: that a resolution adopted February 23, 2021 by the South Kingstown School Committee seeking re-classification of public school staff to make them eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccinations immediately is received and placed on file.
D. UNANIMOUSLY VOTED: that a resolution adopted February 24, 2021 by the Burrillville Town Council concerning maintenance of operations at the Zambarano Unit of Eleanor Slater Hospital facility is received and placed on file.
G. UNANIMOUSLY VOTED: that an email dated March 3, 2021 from Tara Apperson concerning references to the School Department in the Budget Message section of the FY 2021-2022 Town Manager’s Proposed Budget is received, placed on file and deferred to the Budget Work Session with the School Committee on March 10, 2021.
Council President Collins invites residents to come forward with comments.
Joslin Leasca is present and comments on the proposed condo project in Matunuck, the Town’s Comprehensive Community Plan and Affordable Housing Plan.
Greg Sweet is present and comments on the School Facilities Bond Referendum.
Clifford Dutrumble is present and comments on the proposed condo project in Matunuck and the Town’s Comprehensive Community Plan.
The Town Solicitor explains that the condo project was proposed under a Comprehensive Permit Process that goes through the Planning Board.
Robert Zarnetske, Town Manager notes that the State Affordable Housing Act drives Comprehensive Permits, the State has a 10% affordable housing goal. Jamie Rabbitt, Director of Planning discusses that South Kingstown is subject to the Comprehensive Permit Process due to not meeting the State’s 10% criteria. That process allows an applicant to request more than what is allowed under the zoning ordinance.
Discussion ensues relative to adoption of the Comprehensive Community Plan. The update continues the existing principles and philosophies of the Town’s current plan. This is a full re-write, and updated for relevancy.
The Town Manager notes that the Senior Center and Emergency Medical Services continue to administer COVID-19 vaccinations for our residents over 75, with the last day scheduled for March 14. A larger regional vaccination center is slated to open in West Kingston.
Discussion ensues relative to scheduling a Public Hearing to adopt the Comprehensive Community Plan. A Work Session will be scheduled to review the Comp Plan with the Planning Board at 6 PM on March 22, 2021.
Discussion ensues relative to options for creating a Human Resources and Training Department.
A motion is made by Councilwoman Bergner, seconded by Councilwoman Rose, and it is
UNANIMOUSLY VOTED: to schedule a Closed Executive Session to be held on April 12, 2021 pursuant to RIGL §42-46-5(a)(1) to discuss matters pertaining to personnel re: Robert C. Zarnetske, Town Manager.
A. UNANIMOUSLY VOTED: to reappoint Helen Rose DiSanto to the Board of Canvassers for a term to expire in March 2027.
UNANIMOUSLY VOTED: to appoint Dan T. Kimber to the Economic Development Committee for a term to expire in March 2024.
UNANIMOUSLY VOTED: to appoint Susan M. Walsh to the Zoning Board of Review.
UNANIMOUSLY VOTED: to reappoint Bradford F. Hevenor to the Assessment Board of Review as Alternate Member for a term to expire in January 2024.
B. UNANIMOUSLY VOTED: to authorize an award of bid to Liberty Chevrolet, 90 Bay State Road, Wakefield, MA 01880 for the purchase of one (1) 2021 Chevrolet 3500 stake body truck in accordance with all specifications and RI Master Price Agreement #559 in an amount not to exceed $46,367; and as further described in a memorandum from the Park Superintendent to the Town Manager dated March 2, 2021 and entitled “Award Recommendation – Stake Body Truck.”
C. UNANIMOUSLY VOTED: to authorize an award of bid to Malec Tree Service, Inc., 101 Nasonville Road, Harrisville, RI 02830 for municipal tree and stump removal services in an amount not to exceed amount $35,339, including a $5,000 contingency, with funding in excess of $20,000 being appropriated from Highway Division’s CIP equipment funding; and as further described in a memorandum from the Public Services Director to the Town Manager dated February 24, 2021 and entitled “Bid Recommendation – Municipal Tree & Stump Removal Services.”
D. UNANIMOUSLY VOTED: to authorize an award of contract to Daikin Applied Americas, Inc., 19 Walpole Park South #3, Walpole, MA 02081 to furnish and install two (2) Bell & Gossett pumps with hi-efficiency motors at the Public Safety Building in an amount not to exceed $18,000, including a $1,696 contingency; and as further detailed in a memorandum from the Facilities Superintendent to the Town Manager dated March 1, 2021 and entitled “Recommendation – HVAC Chilled Water Loop Upgrade – Public Safety Complex.”
E. UNANIMOUSLY VOTED: to authorize the Town Clerk to advertise for Order of Notice a Public Hearing relative to a proposed amendment to the Town Code, Chapter 9 Licenses and Miscellaneous Business Regulations, Sec. 9-21. Temporary expansion of licensed premises for restaurants that would extend the expiration date, as follows:
Licenses and Miscellaneous Business Regulations
* * *
Sec. 9-21. Temporary Expansion of Licensed Premises for Restaurants.
1. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in the Code, restaurants located in Town are authorized to temporarily expand their service areas, subject to the following conditions:
a) Expansion must be pursuant to and in accordance with any executive orders issued by Governor Gina Raimondo, directives of the Rhode Island Dept. of Health, Dept. of Business Regulation, or any other state agency.
b) Expansion shall be strictly temporary and shall be permitted only so long as any executive orders, directives, and/or guidelines related to COVID-19 and social distancing are in effect. The Town reserves the right to take enforcement action with respect to licensing and/or zoning against any establishment that fails to restore the conditions of the premises to what was permitted before social distancing measurers were required.
c) Expansion must be administratively approved by the Town Manager, Building Official, and Town Engineer. Restaurants wishing to expand must apply for approval via the Town’s online permitting system available at https://southkingstownri.viewpointcloud.com/
d) All applicable life safety codes must be satisfied.
e) Expansion shall not result in an increase in capacity beyond what is currently permitted.
f) For restaurants wishing to temporarily convert a portion of off-street parking areas into service areas, a parking plan shall be required.
g) Where expansion into an adjacent area not owned by the Town is proposed, the applicant shall provide written authorization from the landowner.
h) Before temporary expansion into public property or a public right of way is authorized, the applicant shall provide proof of liability insurance from a company licensed to do business in the state and in a form satisfactory to the town solicitor, of no less than $1,000,000.00 protecting the town for all claims and causes of action for personal injury or property damage resulting from such temporary expansion.
i) Fees for building permits, etc. set by the Town shall not be required.
j) The applicant shall agree in writing that temporary authorization to expand shall not confer any vested rights to continue such expanded use after social distancing measures are no longer in effect.
2. The provisions of this ordinance shall expire
on March 31, 2021 September 8, 2021 unless renewed by the Town Council in the same manner as the enactment of a new ordinance.
This ordinance shall take effect upon passage.
F. UNANIMOUSLY VOTED: to authorize the Town Clerk to advertise for Order of Notice a Public Hearing to consider proposed amendments to the Town Code, Chapter 17, Taxation, Article I. In General, Section 17-1 Veterans exemptions, as follows:
Chapter 17 Taxation
Article I. In General
Section 17-1. Veterans exemptions.
Pursuant to G.L. 1956, § 44-3-5.1, as amended, the town council is authorized to exempt from taxation a specified dollar amount of real and/or personal property of qualified individuals, as defined in G.L. 1956, Chapter 3 of Title 44, who are residents of the Town of South Kingstown. The said individuals and the tax credits are as follows effective July 1,
(a) Veterans of war $
(b) Unmarried spouse of veteran of war $
(c) Veterans who are one hundred (100) percent totally
disabled through service-connected disability
(d) Gold star parent $378.00
(e) Veterans who were prisoners of war
VOTED: to request the Secretary of State to place a municipal bond authorization referendum question on a ballot for the following:
“Shall An Act authorizing the Town of South Kingstown to issue not to exceed $85 million general obligation bonds, notes and other evidences of indebtedness to finance the construction, renovation, improvement, alteration, repair, landscaping, furnishing and equipping of schools and school facilities throughout the town and all attendant expenses including, but not limited to, engineering and architectural costs, provided that the authorization shall be reduced by the amount of certain grants received from state bond proceeds, from the Rhode Island Department of Education or from the Rhode Island School Building Authority be approved?”
Said question to be placed before the voters at an election to be held on May 4, 2021, or in the alternative on June 8, 2021. This question is in accordance with enabling legislation pending before the General Assembly.
Councilwoman Bergner voted no.
H. Discussion ensues relative to appointments to the School Building Committee. It is requested to add expertise in education to the preferred experiences, set an application deadline of April 7, 2021 and to schedule interviews on April 12, 2021.
VOTED: that in anticipation of the possibility of restructuring the Committee the Town Council directs the Town Clerk to advertise for possible vacancies on the School Building Committee. All qualified residents with experience in architecture, engineering, construction or construction contracting, and education are encouraged to apply for membership on the Committee.
Councilwoman Bergner abstained.
UNANIMOUSLY VOTED: to adjourn at 9:32 PM.
Susan M. Flynn, CMC