The Town Council of the Town of Tiverton, County and State aforesaid held a Regular Council Meeting on

Monday, July 27, 2020 at 7:00 via a Virtual Meeting viewable at Tiverton Videos on YouTube.






Council President Hilton called the meeting to order with the pledge of allegiance to the flag.




Council President Hilton

Councilor Perry

Council Edwards

Vice-President deMedeiros

Councilor Clarke

Town Clerk Mello

Councilor Cook

Councilor Driggs


Solicitor Marcello, Town Administrator Cotta and Deputy Town Clerk Veegh were also present



President Hilton read the items on the Consent Agenda.



Note 3:   All items listed within the Consent Agenda are to be considered routine by Town Council and will ordinarily be enacted by one motion. There will be no separate discussion of these items unless a member of the Council, or a member of the public so requests and the Town Council President permits, in which event the item will be removed for separate consideration later on the agenda.


A. Approval of Town Council Minutes
     1. June 22, 2020 –
Regular Session

     2. May 26, 2020 (Continued to 5/29) – Executive Session

     3. July 7, 2020 Special Meeting

     4. July 13, 2020 – Regular Session

     5. July 13, 2020 – Executive Session

B.  Acknowledge Receipt of Minutes from Boards/Commissions/Committees
     1. Board of Canvassers (2)

     2. Budget Committee (3)

     3. Planning Board

C. Acknowledge Receipt of Reports

     1.  Treasurer’s Office – Memorandum reporting Financial Status as of June 30, 2020

     2.  Jennifer Siciliano, Town Planner and Administrative Office – Report of Activities of Planning Department and Planning Board for June 2020

D. Acknowledge Receipt of Correspondence
     1. Town of Little Compton – Resolution condemning racism and urging efforts to recognize and stop racism

E. Approval of Tax Assessor Abatements


Councilor Edwards motioned to approve the Consent Agenda items. Councilor deMedeiros seconded the motion. The Motion passed unanimously by roll call vote.




The Public May Send Written Comments via email to or by regular

mail to the Town Clerk at 343 Highland Road, Tiverton, RI 02878 or place in the grey drop box located

outside Town Hall by 12:00 noon on Monday, July 27th.    

A. No comments were received



A. Jose Cabral and Trisha Berner, 267 Deer Run Road – Request Approval of Sound Variance and Special Event Permit for Wedding on September 19, 2020 from 6 pm to 11 pm – Subject to Meeting All Legal Requirements  


Town Administrator Cotta confirmed the applicants were not present. Deputy Clerk Veegh confirmed that all legal requirements had been met.


Council President Hilton opened the public hearing.  No one wished to speak.  Public hearing was closed.  Council had no comments.


Councilor Edwards motioned to approve relative Sound Variance and Special Event Permit for Wedding on September 19, 2020 from 6 pm to 11 pm – Subject to Meeting All Legal Requirements.  Seconded by Councilor deMedeiros, motion passed unanimously by roll call vote.



            A. Art’s Commission – (1) Year Term to 4/15/2021 – One Vacancy

                   1. William Viera, 30 Lepes Road – Requests New Appointment

William Viera joined meeting via zoom and gave a brief explanation of his experience and interest in becoming a member of the Arts Commission. 


Councilor deMedeiros motioned to waive policy and move to vote on the board re-appointment today.
Councilor Edwards seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously on a roll call vote.


Councilor deMedeiros motioned to appoint William Viera to the Art’s Commission for a (1) year term to expire 4/15/2021.  Seconded by Councilor Edwards, the motion passed unanimously by roll call vote.




            A. Town Administrator – Approval for
Payment of Outstanding Legal Invoices

                 1. Cameron & Mittleman – Dated February 18, 2020 for $10,066


Administrator Cotta noted his hesitancy to pay the invoice without clear information relative to time period when Cameron & Mittleman was still representing the Town. After brief discussion, it was determined that the dates in question were legitimate.       


Councilor deMedeiros motioned to approve payment for the relative legal invoice. Seconded by Councilor Edwards, motion passed unanimously.


2. Law Office of Jeanne M. Scott – Dated October 2019 for $6,470


Administrator Cotta referenced a letter from Ms. Scott indicating she had been contracted by the Town to perform Comprehensive Plan work, although no such contract existed. He believed she was subcontracted by the former Solicitor Ciccone. Councilor Hilton asserted that Council had never entered into an agreement with Ms. Scott, and any related work would have been as a subcontractor at the discretion of Cameron & Mittleman. She believed the Cameron & Mittleman final bill had already been paid. After brief discussion, Councilor Hilton suggested deferring the item in order to research previously paid invoices.         


Councilor Driggs motioned to continue item until the Town Administrator has more information. Seconded by Councilor Edwards, motion passed unanimously.

            B. Council President Hilton – Authorization to Advertise for Town Administrator


Councilor Hilton noted that the Interim Administrator Cotta’s six month term deadline of September 30, 2020 was approaching, therefore is was necessary to advertise for the permanent Administrator.   

Councilor Edwards motioned to authorize the relative request to advertise for Town Administrator. Seconded by Councilor Cook, motion passed unanimously.


            C. Recreation Commission Chair Gilfillen – Discussion relating to fund raising for Town Farm Recreation
                   Area Improvements


Chair Gilfillen updated Council on Town Farm renovation progress noting three vendors are in review, the DEM grant is in the process of being signed and the DPW Director is looking at seal coating vendors for the pickleball courts. With regard to fundraising, Gilfillen requested guidance on the proper handling of donation collection to ensure no conflict of interest. Councilor Hilton advised caution against accepting donations from anyone with active items in front of the Council, no cash, and establishing a separate account with treasurer. Solicitor Marcello noted that as the project is sanctioned by the Town through the Recreation Committee, a Town account is acceptable. Councilor Edwards recommended adding project information to the Town website. Gilfillen offered that the existing website could be linked to the Town website.


            D. Council President Hilton – Discussion and Votes for Possible Financial Town Resolutions and

                   November Ballot Questions
                    1. Town Clerk – Request FTR Resolution regarding restricted election account 1030-6329 to allow
                         unexpected FTR expenses for delayed FY2021 and possibly FY2022


Council President Hilton spoke on behalf of Town Clerk Mello explaining that as restricted account monies can only be used for future elections and runoffs, the Clerk was requesting an amendment to allow the account to cover any resulting shortfall from the two 2021 FTR budgets.     


Councilor Cook motioned to authorize language change to restricted election account 1030-6329 resolution to allow for any shortfall in the (2) FTR budgets to be held during the FY 2021 year only. Seconded by Councilor deMedeiros, motion passed unanimously.


            E. Councilor deMedeirosTown Hall

                    1. Discussion on plans to open Town Hall to the public

                    2. Discussion on holding open Council meetings at Town Hall

                    3. Discussion of AFSCME employee hours at Town Hall


Councilor deMedeiros prefaced discussion with an assurance that there was no expectation to open Town Hall immediately, only concerned with potential plans. Administrator Cotta offered there were no current plans to open and the Town Hall was successfully providing all services via appointment. He expressed concerns with Concerns with full time firm to handle cleaning if the public was allowed in. Councilors de and Cook disagreed. Councilor deMedeiros mentioned that tax payers like to pay in person and get a receipt. Councilor Perry raised concerns about staff becoming sick (with COVID) and resulting fallout with limited staff. Councilor Hilton added that she had not received any related resident complaints and felt comfortable continuing with services “by appointment only” for the time being. Administrator Cotta added that “contact tracing” requirements would cause further issue.         


With regard to holding open Council meetings at Town Hall, Solicitor Marcello noted that current law provides that members have the absolute right to attend meetings electronically. He furthered that general rules for in person meetings include social distance requirement adherence, capacity of room is 25 persons and/or 60% total capacity, and meetings live streamed with ability for members to participate electronically. Councilor deMedeiros offered that larger facilities could be considered, expressing concern about residents that had no computer access and/or hampered ability to participate electronically in upcoming public hearings.     


As to the AFSCME employee hours at Town Hall item, Councilor deMedeiros reminded of previous contract discussions related to keeping Town Hall open one night per week 


                F. Town Administrator

                    1. Town Administrator – Update regarding Fire Department Overtime


Administrator Cotta opened discussion noting that the overtime issue was an inherited matter, yet acknowledging a significant of fire department overtime in June, July and August due to the way the contract is set up. Cotta provided to the Council a comprehensive analysis of the overtime overages as related to the Overtime Provision as well as addressed concerns of fair employee treatment/double standards.  


Labor Attorney Tim Cavassa provided an historical summary of the Overtime Provision that was born from lengthy and contentious negotiations. He explained the language was derived as a compromise that worked hand in hand with the staffing reorganizing that the firefighter’s union proposed moving from a 3 platoon/56 hr work week to a 4 platoon/48 hour work week. The Councils’ position was that protections were necessary to ensure overtime did not revert to levels similar to when the Town operated on a 4 platoon system. The Overtime Provision would track overtime on a weekly basis throughout the year and was designed not to cap, but provide a marker whereas if the running average went over $2000/week, the staffing level would drop from 7 to 6 until overtime was back at an average of $2000/week or less.    


Councilor deMedeiros, who had been involved with negotiations, raised concern over lack of communication and oversight which had been guaranteed. She furthered that she was not aware per diems were no longer being utilized. She recommended a more comprehensive monthly OT report.   


Councilor Edwards raised concerns related to PTO whereas Acting Chief Bruce Reimels responded affirming that there were enough hors in the year for all staff to take PTO. Reimels furthered that the union is willing to assist to help solve ongoing issues.  


Attorney Cavassa added that as overtime will never go away, best practice is to track at a very fine level in order to pinpoint and tackle problems early.




            A. Town Solicitor

                   1. Receipt of Attorney General Complaint by Councilor Driggs v. Tiverton Town Council and Town’s



Solicitor Marcello updated that the Town had received the afore noted open meeting complaint, which has been answered and is currently awaiting a decision from the Attorney General’s office.  


                   2. CRMC – Withdrawal of (2) Applications of Commercial Viability by Cullen

With regard to previous commercial applications related to Nanaquaket pond , after review by CRMC and Harbor Commission and with Councilor Cook’s input, the two related applications had been withdrawn.

            B. Town Clerk

                    1. Statewide Primary – Important Dates for Affiliation, Last Date to Registration and Location

                    2. Sample Ballot for Statewide Primary, September 8 - Districts 3306 and 3307 only


Deputy Town Clerk Veegh briefly updated Council with regard to the September 8, 2020 and November 3, 2020 election dates and deadlines as well as referencing the September primary election sample ballot.   



               A. Town Solicitor – Litigation -42-46-5(a)(2) –Status update and settlement update provision on tax
                    appeal case - Nebergall v. Tiverton (NC-2012-0004)


Councilor deMedeiros motioned to enter executive session pursuant to 42-46-5(a)(2) Litigation – Status update and settlement update provision on tax appeal case - Nebergall v. Tiverton (NC-2012-0004).  Seconded by Councilor Edwards, motion passed unanimously by roll call vote.


Council entered executive session at approximately 9:05 pm.


Council returned to open session at approximately 9:20 pm.




Councilor Edwards motioned to adjourn the meeting. Councilor Perry seconded the motion.  The motion passed unanimously. The meeting adjourned at 9:25 p.m.



A True Copy.



Nancy L. Mello, Town Clerk


Published by ClerkBase
©2024 by Clerkbase. No Claim to Original Government Works.