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

Monday, September 14, 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.



    Members present

Council President Hilton

Councilor Perry (absent)

Council Edwards

Vice-President deMedeiros

Councilor Clarke


Councilor Cook

Councilor Driggs





Town Administrator Cotta and Town Clerk Mello and Deputy 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. August 24, 2020 – Regular Session

2. August 24, 2020 – Executive Session

B.  Acknowledge Receipt of Minutes from Boards/Commissions/Committees

1. Board of Canvassers (2)

2. Planning Board (2)

3. Building Code Board of Appeals

4. Zoning Board of Review

5. Planning Board of Appeals

C. Acknowledge Receipt of Reports

1. Police and Fire Department overtime reports – August 2020

2. Department Monthly Reports – August 2020

D. Acknowledge Receipt of Correspondence

1. Town of Coventry – Resolution on State Funding for COVID Related Expenses

2. Tiverton Conservation Commission - Septic Smart 2020 Campaign


Councilor Driggs removed Consent Agenda items A-1 and C-2.

Councilor Cook removed Consent Agenda items C-1.


Councilor Edwards motioned to approve Consent Agenda items with the exception of A-1, C-1 and C-2. Councilor Driggs seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.


Pertinent to item A-1, Councilor Driggs thought the last sentence [….Solicitor requested permission to accept service on behalf of the Town and Ms. Mello] was left open ended. She recalled further discussion, believing the Solicitor had been granted permission. Councilor Edwards reminded that as a consent agenda item, no votes could have been taken. Review of the meeting notes/tape affirmed that after discussion, no authority had been granted. Solicitor Marcello added that it could be put back on the agenda if service did not happen within 30 days.        


With regard to item C-1, the fire department overtime report, Councilor Cook asserted it was unclear if the $2000 weekly overtime cap was being met. Councilor deMedeiros agreed. President Hilton suggested the Administrator update Council on the overtime and the status of per diems at the next meeting.


As to item C-2, Councilor Driggs requested an update on the landfill operating permits and recycle center plans. Administrator Cotta responded noting that permitting for both the freshwater wetlands and the landfill remained in process. He expected an update from PARE relative to the DEM/deferred recycling center matter within the next week.   


Councilor Edwards motioned to approve Consent Agenda items A-1(as amended), C-1 and C-2. Councilor Cook seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.



     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 13th.   

               A. Comments received - None



            A. Harbor Commission – (9) Member Board/ (2) Year Terms/ (2) Vacancies

                 1. Paul A. Duarte, 17 South Avenue - Requests Re-Appointment to Expire 7/15/22

Councilor Edwards motioned to waive policy and proceed to appointment. Councilor deMedeiros seconded the
motion. The motion passed unanimously.


Councilor Edwards motioned to re-appoint Paul A. Duarte to the Harbor Commission for (2) year terms to expire 7/15/22. Seconded by Councilor Clarke, motion passed unanimously.

            B. Juvenile Hearing Board – (5) Member Board/(3) Year Terms/(1) Vacancy

                 1. Melissa R. Quinlan, 25 Garden Avenue - Requests Appointment to Expire 10/15/23

As applicant was not present for interview, it was agreed to reschedule item for the next meeting. 




A. Council President Hilton – Roberts Rules of Order and Town Council’s Governance Policy

1. Council Refresher Regarding Roberts Rules of Order

2. Roberts Rules on Voting


President Hilton noted that although the Council was nearing the end of its term, recent complaints have arisen over “sometimes fractious” behaviors and warranted a reminder of Council’s Governance Policy/Section 8, as well as Robert’s Rules relative to decorum during debate. She specifically warned that personal attacks and questioning other members’ motives was prohibited. She reiterated that members cannot re-open debate during a vote. Councilor Driggs added that also under the Governance Policy, after being recognized, a member shall not be interrupted, except by a point of order or to yield to another member.   


B. Councilor Donna Cook – Discussion Regarding Sails at Grinnell’s Beach


Councilor Cook inquired as to why new decorative sails have been missing from the pavilion area at Grinnell’s Beach. Administrator Cotta explained that they had been inadvertently damaged during winter storage. The storage bins used proved to be an inadequate size resulting in several small holes. The decision was made to remove to prevent high winds causing further damage. As the warranty would not cover the repair, the Administrator made the decision to have a local sail maker repair at a cost of $255. He added that the sails should be back up soon. 


C. Town Administrator – Approval of Engagement Letter with Hague, Sahady & Co., P.C. for auditing services for FY20, FY21 and FY22 ($44,500, $45,400 and $46,300 respectively) not to exceed $136,200 – cont. from August 24th meeting.


As the matter had been discussed at a previous meeting, the item went to a vote without further discussion.


Councilor Edwards motioned to approve the relative Engagement Letter with Hague, Sahady & Co., P.C. for auditing services for FY20, FY21 and FY22. Seconded by Councilor Cook. The motion passed 5-0, with Councilor deMedeiros abstaining.


D. Town Administrator – Approval of Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank Community Septic System Loan Program for Additional $900,000


Administrator Cotta began with a brief history of the Community Septic System Loan Program that started in 2007. In addition to the $900k financing recently approved in August, an additional $300k in unused funds was available from 2017. The Administrator expressed concern that to date none of the debts have been discharged. RI Housing gave a full accounting of all outstanding loans. Of the original bonds made, 29 loans ($502k) have been fully repaid with $1.983m outstanding. From Oct of 2010 to now, an additional 77 loans ($728k) have been repaid with an outstanding balance of 708k. He explained that the program is only for failed septic systems, allows loans up to 25k and includes a 1% fee that pays for the servicing. He furthered that RI Housing records the mortgages at Town Hall and new owners must agree to take on debt service if a home is sold. So far there have been no defaults.


Councilor Cook questioned how the contractor gets paid. Tiverton Wastewater Executive Director Carrie San Angelo was present and confirmed that in partnership with RIDEM, RI Housing must see a certificate of conformance before the project is certified, then the contractor gets paid. She raised another concern over the inability to amend the loan after it is approved, in the event the estimate was inadequate. Ms. San Angelo noted that most skilled contractors familiar with the program, encourage property owners to request the full 25k if the estimate is close. She furthered that the trend is that actual amounts tend to come in within the estimated amount.   


Councilor Edwards motioned to approve Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank Community Septic System Loan
Program for Additional $900,000. Seconded by Councilor Cook, the motion passed unanimously.


E. Town Administrator – Approval of Amended Sewer Easement Agreement between the Town of Tiverton, Tiverton Wastewater District and Tiverton Recreation, LLC Formerly Known As Longplex, LLC


Interim Administrator Cotta updated that owner Jim Long had completed the required sewer work and the amended easement utilized will now proceed to Wastewater for them to accept as part of their infrastructure.  


Carrie San Angelo with Tiverton Wastewater explained that they ran into ledge during initial construction necessitating a portion of the connection to relocate to the opposite side of the road. Therefore, the amendment to the easement to notates that change.


President Hilton suggested consultation with the Planner to ensure the recorded plan is consistent with the easement to prevent future confusion.  


Councilor Edwards motioned to approve Amended Sewer Easement Agreement between the Town of Tiverton, Tiverton Wastewater District and Tiverton Recreation, LLC Formerly Known As Longplex, LLC, Seconded by Councilor Clarke, the motion passed unanimously.


F. Town Administrator - Request Approval of Budget Transfers

1. Acct 1050-7160 (Prosecutions) to 1050-7159 (Litigation) $3371.05

2. Acct 2190-5260 (ER Health Contribution) to 2190-7920 (Bldgs/Pers Prop Insurance) $4330.36


Councilor Edwards motioned to approve the relative budget transfers. Seconded by Councilor deMedeiros, the motion passed unanimously.


G. Police Chief Jones - Request Approval of Budget Transfers

1. Acct 3330-5101 (Personnel Salaries) to 3330-5104 (Overtime) $11,364.83

2. Acct 3330-7611 (Fuel) to 3330-6648 (Tires, Parts & Maintenance) $2978.21


Chief Jones explained the COVID related expenses are from FY20, and that FEMA reimbursement is pending. Additionally, the current IBPO contract requires all officers to use vacation time. As none of them were able to take vacation in March, April & May, there was a subsequent rush for officers to use their time before it expired. He noted that approximately $7,200 is also under FEMA reimbursement for sanitation of cruisers.  


Councilor Edwards motioned to approve the relative budget transfers. Seconded by Councilor deMedeiros, the motion passed unanimously.


H. Council President Hilton – Discussion and Possible Vote of Town Council to Appoint an Advisory Committee to Present Recommendations Regarding the Town Budget Process and Improvements to the Existing Financial Town Referendum


Council President Hilton proposed creating an advisory committee, appointed by the Council and comprised of persons from various backgrounds, to examine the existing process, investigate the best practices of other communities, and suggest changes. As one example of many shortcomings, she referenced the upcoming FTR, whereas one budget on the ballot is forcing the town to spend upwards of $15,000 to go through the motions. She added there have been 12 lawsuits and charter complaints associated with the FTR process since it replaced the FTM in 2012. Back and forth discussion continued with seeming agreement on the proposal, but disagreement over timing.


Councilor Edwards motioned to approve the relative Advisory Committee. Seconded by Councilor Clarke, the motion failed on a tied vote, with Councilors Hilton, Edwards, Clarke in favor and Councilors Cook, Driggs and deMedeiros against.


I.  Council President Hilton – Discussion on Process for Interviews and Hiring of Town Administrator


Council President Hilton noted that the Personnel Board will meet via Zoom tomorrow night to review the 11 applications to determine those qualified. They intend to meet again next week to conduct Zoom interviews, whereas Council will be invited to observe only. The final Zoom meeting(s) will then be set to finalize candidates for Council selection.


J.  Police Chief Jones – Request Permission to Advertise for Position of Police Officer


Chief Jones advised that the Department has exhausted their current of list eligible applicants for police officer, and the request is to begin the recruitment process to establish a new list.


Councilor Edwards motioned to approve the request for Permission to Advertise for Position of Police Officer. Seconded by Councilor deMedeiros, the motion passed unanimously.




            A. Town Solicitor

            B. Interim Town Administrator


                 1. Payment of Outstanding Legal Invoices to Attorney Jeanne M. Scott


Administrator Cotta after review, it was confirmed that Attorney Scott had completed work on the Comprehensive Plan that she had not been paid for by the prior Solicitor. Of the original $6700 amount, they agreed to settle at $4000 and payment was in process. 


            C. Town Clerk

                 1. Update on September 26, 2020 FTR process and November 3, 2020 General Election         


Clerk Mello noted the FTR is being held on September 26, from 7am to 8pm at the Tiverton High School gym. Absentee voting will take place at the Town Hall on September 23, 24, 25 from 7am to 8pm. She furthered that mail ballot applications are available on the Town website or one can knock on the Town Hall door to obtain.


On the November election, the State announced Friday they will be mailing mail ballot applications to all active voters. The deadline to return applications is October 13 and emergency voting begins October 14. Applications can be mailed directly to the State or received at the Town Hall. Polling locations have yet to be determined. Ballots should begin to be mailed at the end of next week.  


Councilor Driggs questioned if signatures are being matched to which Clerk Mello affirmed that all applications undergo a signature match before being entered into the CVRS.






Councilor Edwards motioned to adjourn the meeting. Councilor Cook seconded the motion.  The motion passed unanimously. The meeting adjourned at 8:30 p.m.


A True Copy.



                 Nancy L. Mello, Town Clerk


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