Welcome to TIVERTON 1st!

Tiverton 1st is a grassroots community organization open to all who support preserving our quality of life in Tiverton by maintaining both our community and school services in a fiscally-responsible way, and promoting cooperation, compromise and community pride.
Membership is open to all Tiverton residents who are at least 18 years old & support Tiverton 1st's principles & goals (non-residents or those under 18 years old are welcome to join as non-voting members). There's no membership fee.Just email your name, address, phone # and email address to: Tiverton1st@cox.net.
You can also request to become a "Tiverton 1st Friend"& join our confidential email list.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

BUDGET 2 WINS FTR VOTE

Obviously, tonight's FTR results are a big disappointment. So, too, was the turnout, just around 20%, when over 60% turned out for the November election. It's a sad commentary on the level of voter participation when a 20% turnout is reported as a "large turnout".

The bottom line is that all voters could have voted on the town budget, and of those who did, the majority chose Budget 2. While every elected body and professional feels this is a mistake, that's the way elections work. 


Tiverton 1st will continue to work to inform and motivate community-minded people to get involved, run for office, and above all, to vote. Results like tonight's are frustrating, but we care too much about out town and schools and the people of Tiverton to give up.


Thank you to all who played a part in support of Budget 1, and to all who did take the time to vote. Let's take some time to determine the best path forward, and then get back to work in support of our community.


Brian Medeiros
Tiverton, RI

Friday, May 15, 2015

SATURDAY IS THE FINAL DAY TO VOTE ON TOWN & SCHOOL BUDGET / 7am-8pm at THS

Tomorrow (Saturday) is the final day for voting on the Town and School Budget at the annual FTR (Financial Town Referendum). All registered voters are eligible to vote at the High School from 7am - 8pm. Remember to bring your photo ID. Please take time from your busy schedule to help determine your town's future, and your own.

Tiverton 1st encourages every voter to get the facts and vote to approve Budget 1, the Budget Committee proposal that was put together by all three elected bodies and the professionals we pay to manage our town and school finances. It balances maintaining vital services while containing costs, and will cost the owner of a $200K home just $1.50 more per week than Budget 2, without all the negative consequences of Budget 2. 

As a community group, we rely on people who share our love for Tiverton to vote, and encourage their friends and neighbors to do the same. If everyone does their part, together we can protect Tiverton's financial stability and its future.

The backers of Budget 2 have an extreme political agenda they've been unable to enact through the regular election process. So they've hijacked this budget vote to exploit the understandable financial concerns of many residents. But as has been demonstrated, Budget 2 will not only be destructive to the town's financial stability, by raiding the town's savings and underfunding vital services, but it will ultimately cost every taxpayer more. It's a potential self-inflicted wound that will benefit no one but those spending thousands to promote it.

Town finances can be complicated. At the end of the day, the question to ask is: who do you trust? Is it the people you elected to represent you, and the financial professionals they hired to manage town finances? Or a fringe political group with a self-serving agenda?

We are all taxpayers, and demand our town government balance services and costs in a responsible way. Budget 2 backers like to tell people to "control your taxes". That's what town government has been doing for the past five years. Since the large tax increase in 2010 necessitated by inadequate savings to meet a crisis, spending and tax increases have been stable, and at historic lows. Progress has been made, and long-term plans enacted. Budget 2 will reverse this progress and bring back instability and lurching from crisis to crisis, with higher taxes and new fees as a result.

This is your chance to directly decide what kind of town you want Tiverton to be. Every vote counts, and every non-vote benefits those looking to return us to financial instability. We're better than that, and we deserve better. Please get out and vote to support Budget 1 on Saturday. Five minutes doing so can prevent years of financial crises and higher costs to all of us.

Brian Medeiros
Tiverton, RI


LETTER: TOWN COUNCILOR BRETT PELLETIER

This Saturday, May 16th marks a new FTR arrangement in the town of Tiverton. We’re ALL voting at the High School. It’s just one way the Town has found to save taxpayers money. The past 2 years have been particularly difficult to budget: massive snow storms, increasing electricity and healthcare costs, and a $600,000 budget deficit. But we made it work. We will always make it work. That is our job. It’s not a victory when we prevent bad things from happening; it’s what we have sworn to do on your behalf. It might not seem like it from national headlines, but public service is a humble endeavor. I take my responsibility to be a good steward very seriously. The only way cooperative governance works is if we trust one another.
I try not to ask much from the voters of Tiverton. Today, I simply ask for your trust. Many of you trusted me enough to elect me three times to the Town Council. I now ask that you trust that I’m working for your own best interests and the best interests of your children, grandchildren, neighbors, and even those yet to come. Our new Town Administrator has a passion for public service, and coupled with our revised budget and capital planning, we are starting to find more than one year’s solutions to multi-year problems. This planning will address what we can do today to make the next 10 years progressive, not regressive. That work is reflected in our Budget #1. Some would have you believe that we’re all stupid, fatuous, and irresponsible. I can tell you there is nothing further from the truth and I would suggest that those willing to stand up and work for you and take such name-calling and hostility do so out of a willingness to help their fellow citizens.
I’m prone to quoting Churchill so here goes... “Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried… No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried.…” I know it’s not perfect, but it’s the system we’ve all agreed on; don’t take the legs out halfway through. I ask that you all vote for Budget #1 on Saturday. I spent a lot of time and energy, along with a lot of other public servants, in thinking about it, analyzing it, and presenting it. It works, it’s responsible, and it serves the best interests of the residents of the town of Tiverton and it lets your public servants do just that…serve the public.
Thank you.
Brett N. Pelletier

VOTING ON THE BUDGET CONTINUES TODAY AT TOWN HALL FROM 7am - 8pm. PLEASE TAKE FIVE MINUTES TO VOTE FOR BUDGET 1

Every vote counts in this FTR Budget vote to save our town's financial stability and vital services. Please take five minutes to do your part, and encourage everyone you know to do the same. Every voter who fails to vote plays into the hands of those spending big bucks to push Budget 2's fiscal irresponsibility and political agenda. We're better than that as a community, and together we can keep Tiverton moving forward.

APPROVE BUDGET 1 / THE BUDGET COMMITTEE PROPOSAL
Preserve vital town and school services without raiding the town's savings

Thursday, May 14, 2015

LETTER: TDTC CHAIR MIKE BURK

On May 16th, I urge Tiverton voters to support Budget #1.  This budget, prepared by dozens of elected and appointed town officials under public in many public meetings is a fair and reasonable budget that balances the needs of our community with our ability to support those needs.
The alternate Elector Petitioner’s budget, the Katz Budget, was prepared by six people behind closed doors.  By his own words, Mr. Katz never held a public meeting, never sought input from any town officials and fails to account for the differences between Tiverton and other towns when he tries to compare us to those towns.
Mr. Katz shares a picture of tax rates of surrounding communities but fails to share the significant differences in property values and the fact that Massachusetts’ tax and revenue system is vastly different than Rhode Island’s.  He fails to note that most of those Massachusetts communities have a commercial tax rate that is nearly twice as high as their residential rate – which helps to cushion the burden on residents.  He fails to share that of the Rhode Island communities noted, only Tiverton and Little Compton exempt the first $6,000 of a vehicle from the vehicle tax – a huge difference.  He fails to share that Little Compton has both a higher aggregate overall property value than Tiverton and also has few town services, and no high school.
Mr. Katz supposedly is a proponent of transparency in government but it is okay for him to present a budget written behind closed doors.  While Budget #1 clearly shows how the town plans to spend our tax dollars, the Katz budget does not.  Limited space does not allow me to show you all of the fallacies of the Katz budget.  Please support Budget #1 on May 16th.
Sincerely,
Mike Burk
Chairman, Tiverton Democratic Town Committee

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

VOTING ON TOWN BUDGET (FTR) BEGINS TODAY (THURS MAY 14)

Voting for those who may not be able to vote in Saturday's Financial Town Referendum (FTR) to determine the town and school budgets is available at Town Hall today (Thurs) and Friday from 7am-8pm. All registered voters who may not be able to vote Saturday can take advantage of this opportunity.

Those pushing Budget 2 were unable to enact their self-serving agenda at November's General Election, and are now spending thousands to get it through at this FTR vote. They are counting on a low turnout, like last year's 18% turnout, to slip this past the majority who understand the self-destructive nature of using the town's savings to fund the budget. The negative consequences of Budget 2 will be long-term and wide-ranging, and all of us will be dealing with them for years to come.


To prevent that outcome, each of us needs to to get out and vote for Budget 1, and encourage friends, family and neighbors to do the same. It takes all of us to preserve the community we live in. Every vote counts, so do your part for a sane and stable financial future.

TOWN TREASURER DENISE SAURETTE: BUDGET 2 WILL COMPROMISE GOAL OF CAPITAL PLANNING


"Insanity: Doing the Same Thing Over and Over Again and Expecting Different Results"


This infamous maxim certainly applies to Tiverton’s recent practice of dipping into savings to stabilize taxes.
In the not too distant past, Tiverton had a history of using the unreserved general fund to offset taxes. Once stripped to the minimum, this practice ultimately resulted in unusually large tax increases and a reserve that dipped below the charter requirement. Apparently there are some folks who have not learned from that mistake, and continue to propose unsubstantiated changes to the budget committee budget AND take from the reserve.
Now many are blasting Tiverton for having a net surplus each year, but at the same time criticizing the lack of capital improvement and long term plans. The fact is these two issues go hand in hand, realizing a surplus at the end of any budget season, allows management the ability to plan.
Each time a petition withdraws from the unreserved general fund, our goal of capital planning is compromised. This practice whittles away at any opportunity to use those funds for the good of the entire town – a paving program or perhaps replacing heavy equipment without having to finance the purchase? A “Band-Aid” approach does not work here. We need long term planning and long term goals.
The recent elector petition compares Tiverton’s tax rate with our neighboring communities. It is disingenuous to compare solely based on the RE tax rate. There are a number of factors that contribute to the final calculation of the RE tax rate: Population, housing units, Real Property levy & rate, Commercial Property levy & rate, and the percent of State Aid received. Furthermore, each of these communities offers a different degree and level of service – contributing to a significantly different quality of life!
Portsmouth has a lower tax rate, and their proposed budget includes not only a $250K appropriation to fund their goal of a 16% Fund Balance but a $1M for road improvements. Interesting, it appears that allowing Town Management to do its job - build reserves and plan for the future - may actually result in a lower tax rate.
Stop harping on past mistakes, embrace the new administration, look to the future and “Let them do their Job!”
Denise Saurette
Tiverton Treasurer