Editor’s note: The Council Update is a twice-monthly update on Council meetings and developments from Warwick City Council President Steve McAllister. The column is written after each council meeting, twice a month. This review of Warwick City Council events has been lightly edited to update time references, for grammar, and to include referential links for further reading.
At the Monday, April 3 Council Meeting [Council OKs Residential-Commercial Tax Mix Adjustment], a number of important matters were introduced, debated, and voted on.
The big topic of the night was PCR-35-23 a “Resolution requesting the General Assembly to amend R.I.G.L. §44-5-67.2 regarding Property Tax Classification for The City of Warwick to reduce the Minimum Ratio of Class 1 to Class 2 Rates.”
This legislation will allow the City to maintain existing tax levy amounts currently being generated from each class of property (Residential, Commercial & Tangible Personal Property). The City’s tax assessor gave a detailed presentation and answered questions from the council and the business community. Below [Property Tax Mix Proposal Discussion Begins Tonight] is a great question and answer document the administration provided which details this legislation. The major concern from the residents who attended that night regarded the impact this would have on the business community.
Regarding this question, the tax assessor stated “because we (the administration) are not looking to increase the tax levy for any class of property, there will be little to no impact on the small business community.” He also stated “no increase in the commercial tax levy is being suggested. Approving this proposal will only allow the City additional options in setting the tax rates.” This legislation passed 8-1 and will now head to the general assembly.
RIDE Building Reimbursement
We also passed a resolution to the general assembly asking to extend the RIDE reimbursement deadline by one year for both commencement of the projects (the two new high schools) and the completion of the schools by one year. This request passed 9-0 and will now go to the general assembly for consideration.
WPD Mental Health Clinician
I would also like to highlight an important item that was passed in the bid docket. The council authorized $59,630 for the salary of the Mental Health Clinician who works with our Police Department. In partnership with the Providence Center, this individual works directly with the police to help Warwick residents in crisis. She goes out on calls with the police and is on scene to help with any mental health situations. I would like to share one story about the impact this individual has had on our community. A senior citizen told me that she was a victim of a scam. When she found out the money she thought was going to help a family member was a scam, she became depressed, embarrassed and in financial distress. This individual went to the police to report what happened and broke down explaining the situation and talking about how she was feeling. The police officer who was taking the report asked the clinician to speak with this resident. This resident told me that having this individual there to hear her was a major comfort to her in her time of need. I am proud the Warwick Police Department continues to advocate for this position and thank my colleagues on the council for voting to keep and fund this position.
Announcements and Upcoming Events:
During school vacation next week there will be a number of opportunities for public skating at the rink. Attached [below] is the flyer with the date and times.
Next Council meeting is April 17th.
Have a great week!
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