November 22, 2010

Oh Goody; a Surplus

In the midst of a continuing recession, with a large tax increase just passed, Tiverton, RI, is projected to have had a nearly $1 million surplus in fiscal year 2010.

Posted by Justin Katz at 8:44 PM

June 27, 2010

Change Isn't Contingent Upon Elimination of the 1218 Thorn

Per a typical political strategy, powers who be in Tiverton are attempting to link the elimination of critical good-government measures with any change to the town's budgetary process so they can use public resources to advocate for their preferred dollar amounts.

Posted by Justin Katz at 1:12 PM

June 25, 2010

Tax Relief Not a Concern in Tiverton

Just a note to let real estate owners in Tiverton know that their tax rate automatically increases if property values overall go down.

Posted by Justin Katz at 6:37 PM

June 23, 2010

Bring in the Businesses

I join with John Minior in lamenting Tiverton's anti-business leadership.

Posted by Justin Katz at 9:19 PM

June 22, 2010

No New Car Taxes... This Year

It looks like a silver lining of increasing our taxes so much, at the Tiverton financial town meeting, was avoidance of an increase in our car taxes.

Posted by Justin Katz at 9:43 PM

June 21, 2010

Transforming Predicted Losses for Children into Benefits for Adults

The dance has begun, in Tiverton, to distract residents from the plain fact that a massive increase in taxes has taken the pressure off of public labor to offer concessions.

Posted by Justin Katz at 6:14 AM

June 20, 2010

Searching for an Alternative to the FTM

Honestly, I'm not so sure that Tiverton needs to or should move away from the financial town meeting. But the operative clause is that I'm not sure.

Posted by Justin Katz at 6:57 PM

June 19, 2010

Competition and a Self-Reinforcing Environment

What wasn't said at a local Tiverton presentation by the state economic development chief, Keith Stokes, is that our public policies and taxation have to make the state attractive as a first step in recovery.

Posted by Justin Katz at 9:46 AM

June 17, 2010

And Now for FTM... 3?

All we can do is wait and guess about what Tiverton's response to its new-found power to increase motor vehicle taxes will be.

Posted by Justin Katz at 9:21 PM

Over the Cap and Through the Woods

In contravention of law and its own regulations, the Division of Municipal Finance has approved Tiverton's request to exceed the tax cap. One might observe that contravention of the law and regulations is the MO of state government, here.

Posted by Justin Katz at 4:59 AM

June 15, 2010

Possibly Avoiding a One-Two Punch of Taxation

At least Tiverton's tax assessor believes that increases in motor vehicle taxes should offset real estate and property taxes. I'm sure we'll find out what the town council's opinion is soon enough.

Posted by Justin Katz at 5:37 AM

June 14, 2010

Correction on School Aid

I've corrected a false assertion that I made suggesting that the Tiverton School Department would be receiving more in state and federal aid than the financial town meeting predicted. At least as the numbers currently stand, the town is receiving a little bit less.

Posted by Justin Katz at 5:21 AM

May 27, 2010

Good News (for the Duped)

The General Assembly looks likely to give the Tiverton School Department $684,319 more than expected. Good thing we voted for a massive tax increase to compensate for the shortfall!

Posted by Justin Katz at 10:50 PM

May 26, 2010

The Law Doesn't Apply to the Town Council

The Tiverton Town Council has decided to pretend that the law doesn't apply to them. With the exception of Jay Lambert, none of them can be trusted to stand up for clear and open processes in the interest of the people of Tiverton.

Posted by Justin Katz at 10:36 PM

May 24, 2010

Hidden Taxes for Your Own Good

In Tiverton, it's not inconceivable that building permits could double the cost of a children's pool.

Posted by Justin Katz at 9:19 PM

May 23, 2010

Some Letters After the Rout

Voices from the losing side of Tiverton's FTM now join those of other Rhode Islanders who cannot shake the sense that there are two classes here: One subject to economic reality, and one not.

Posted by Justin Katz at 1:25 PM

May 22, 2010

A Different Town Meeting Result

So, in Lincoln, they're actually seeing a tax levy decrease. Every town is different, of course, but come on.

Posted by Justin Katz at 1:34 PM

May 21, 2010

The Tones of That Familiar Drum

The West Warwick School Committee is making similar sounds to those squealed by its Tiverton counterpart in the run-up to the financial town meeting. It's like there's a template.

Posted by Justin Katz at 2:51 PM

May 15, 2010

Well, There You Go

I've posted a post-game for the FTM. Taxes are going up, and the demographic balance appears to be shifting toward a majority that can vote for more for itself from other people. But maybe there's a thread of a silver lining.

Posted by Justin Katz at 2:53 PM

Second FTM

I liveblogged from Tiverton's second stage of the financial town meeting, this morning. (We lost.)

Posted by Justin Katz at 2:51 PM

May 14, 2010

The Assessor's Not the Only One with an Agenda

Tiverton School Committee Chairman Jan Bergandy continues to offer proof that the town's taxes may not be the amount agreed to at the financial town meeting, because his budget request (and an amendment by Deborah Pallasch) would put the town on the hook for any decreases in state and federal aid.

Posted by Justin Katz at 6:06 AM

May 12, 2010

The Amendments, by the Number

Ever interested in informed voting by the public, I've posted the tax implications of the various school budget proposals before the voters of Tiverton.

Posted by Justin Katz at 6:05 AM

Update on School Closings

I've been trying to figure out the financial consequences should the School Committee follow through on its threat to close one of Tiverton's brand new elementary schools. The task has been made more difficult by the fact that nobody has researched the issue before... including the Tiverton School Committee.

Posted by Justin Katz at 6:03 AM

Agreeing with the Tax Assessor... and Still Finding Him Wrong

Tiverton's tax assessor, David Robert, who actually lives in another town, has taken to the local press to call a certain group of politically active residents "disingenuous." If only he'd learn about the actual ongoing debates first.

Posted by Justin Katz at 6:01 AM

May 10, 2010

Background for the School Budget Vote

Here's how we got where we are, with the School Committee claiming that it has hinged the viability of our children's education on a single vote of an erratic town meeting, despite open labor contracts and a seven-figure windfall of federal dollars.

Posted by Justin Katz at 6:10 AM

Financial Town Meeting... Week One

I've described the events at Tiverton's financial town meeting over on TCC's Web site.

Posted by Justin Katz at 6:08 AM

May 4, 2010

School Committee… Plus, May 4

News of the evening in Tiverton: Town Council votes to keep FTM this Saturday, and the School Committee voted to lower its budget request in light of legal advice from the Department of Education.

Posted by Justin Katz at 10:00 PM

May 3, 2010

Letters Galore

I've collected and reviewed the splash of recent letters to the editor, in Tiverton, and realized that for just sixteen cents per week on the average tax bill, I could be liberated from the necessity of working.

Posted by Justin Katz at 8:00 PM

School Committee, April 27, Budget Propaganda

Along with video from the last Tiverton School Committee and a chart, I've endeavored to explain the essential significance of "restricted aid."

Posted by Justin Katz at 5:18 AM

May 1, 2010

Town Council, April 26, Town Administrator’s False Waiver Documents

One of the shadier aspects of the battle over the upcoming property tax increase in Tiverton came to light at the end of the last Town Council meeting, when members of Tiverton Citizens for Change raised the issue of Town Administrator Jim Goncalo's falsified package to the state requesting an uncertified waiver to exceed the 4.5% tax cap with one over 9%.

Posted by Justin Katz at 7:12 PM

Town Council, April 26, Standby Motion to Exceed the Cap

The Tiverton Town Council's attempts to grease the skids for a massive tax increase seems to have subsided, at least in its overt form. Of course, ungreased skids can still slide.

Posted by Justin Katz at 2:19 PM

Town Council, April 26, Durfee v. DiMattia

It's interesting to watch Tiverton Town Councilor Louise Durfee attempt to treat Town Treasurer Phil DiMattia as if they aren't elected in parallel by the people.

Posted by Justin Katz at 2:17 PM

April 29, 2010

Budget Committee Open Hearing, April 28

Last night, I liveblogged from the Tiverton Budget Committee's public hearing on its financial town meeting docket... at least the first two and a half hours.

Posted by Justin Katz at 9:31 AM

April 27, 2010

School Committee, April 27

I liveblogged tonight's peculiar Tiverton School Committee meeting. (Hint: It was a setup.)

Posted by Justin Katz at 10:04 PM

April 26, 2010

Town Council, April 26

Per my habits, I'm liveblogging tonight's Tiverton Town Council meeting.

Posted by Justin Katz at 7:15 PM

April 25, 2010

Town Council Tax Cap Waiver “Inquiry” Discussion, April 12

I've posted video of the Tiverton Town Council's April 12 discussion about sending an "inquiry" to the state about exceeding the tax cap.

Posted by Justin Katz at 7:34 PM

April 24, 2010

Caron's Letter

Addressing an omission of the Sakonnet Times, I've posted a letter to the editor by Tiverton Budget Committee Chairman Jeff Caron.

Posted by Justin Katz at 10:31 AM

April 23, 2010

Bankruptcy and Tax Increases

Tiverton is facing tax increases ranging from 4.5% to 15%, but you won't believe the tax increase being proposed in Central Falls in the same breath as mentions of municipal bankruptcy.

Posted by Justin Katz at 7:25 PM

April 22, 2010

TCC on the Richard Urban Show

Yesterday, I was one of three members of Tiverton Citizens for Change to appear on the Richard Urban Show. Video is available on the TCC Web site.

Posted by Justin Katz at 5:45 AM

April 19, 2010

Rewriting Public Documents to Exceed the Cap

There's been some question, about town, concerning the method by which town officials could request a "letter of inquiry" about exceeding the state-imposed cap on tax increases if the official budget, as it stands, is in fact below the cap. The answer, apparently, is that they'll just rewrite the documents as if the budget were something else.

Posted by Justin Katz at 6:42 AM

April 14, 2010

Don't Get Out the Calendary Pen, Yet

The actual date of the Tiverton financial town meeting, currently scheduled for May 8, is still up in the air, pending political maneuvering that has little to do with it.

Posted by Justin Katz at 10:36 PM

April 13, 2010

Not Quite Liveblogging the School Committee Meeting

I've reported from outside a very short School Committee meeting. Coincidentally, the conversation stopped the moment I walked in the room.

Posted by Justin Katz at 7:24 PM

April 12, 2010

This Week's Town Council Meeting

Its being Monday night, I'm liveblogging the Tiverton Town Council Meeting.

Posted by Justin Katz at 8:08 PM

April 11, 2010

School Committee Budget and Legislation Talks, April 6, 2010

I've posted the video from the latest Tiverton School Committee meeting, at which the elected officials voted to request more than the law allows from the town. (Although, they obviously don't see things that way.)

Posted by Justin Katz at 4:55 PM

April 10, 2010

Town Council Budget Talks, 04/05/10

I've posted the complete video of last Monday's special Town Council meeting regarding the upcoming budget.

Posted by Justin Katz at 10:20 PM

Who's "Gutting the Schools"?

Along with some of my fellow active taxpayers, in Tiverton, I've been digging for the actual revenue amounts of the local school district. Now that we've got them, it's clear that this year's budget battle is mainly over whether residents should make up for a decrease in funds that they didn't even know about before because they were "restricted."

Posted by Justin Katz at 2:02 PM

April 9, 2010

Violating Its Own Cap Law

It's taken a few hours of research and discussion, but I think I've figured out how the Tiverton School Committee is attempting to fleece the residents with distortion of the law and financial smoke and mirrors.

Posted by Justin Katz at 6:15 AM

April 8, 2010

Some Budget Perspective

Looking at some budget numbers for Tiverton, I really don't see how we "radical" tax hawks are being unreasonable.

Posted by Justin Katz at 5:51 AM

April 7, 2010

Replacing the Old Machine

It seems as if a majority of the people involved with town government, in Tiverton, wish to run things with cost as, at best, a secondary consideration. Fortunately, some residents are beginning to speak out and act in opposition.

Posted by Justin Katz at 6:00 AM

April 6, 2010

School Committee Tuesday

I'm liveblogging from the Tiverton School Committee meeting... if it ever actually starts.

Posted by Justin Katz at 7:06 PM

April 5, 2010

And the Town Council Budget Discussion Continues

Currently, in the Tiverton town hall, they're looking for a 9% tax increase, one way or another, by taxing cars or by taxing homes. I'm liveblogging.

Posted by Justin Katz at 7:50 PM

April 3, 2010

The Gangs of Tiverton

Apparently, some folks who investigate such things think Tiverton has an underage drinking problem. Not surprisingly, my suggestions have more to do with improving the town, generally, rather than trying to increase information and change attitudes as the first step.

Posted by Justin Katz at 9:04 AM

April 2, 2010

Tiverton Town Council Budget and FTM Delay Discussion

I've posted more video from Monday night's special Tiverton Town Council meeting.

Posted by Justin Katz at 6:02 AM

April 1, 2010

Compassionate Reporting

Why, do you suppose, would the local daily newspaper allow itself to be little more than a stenographer for incumbent elected officials?

Posted by Justin Katz at 10:11 AM

March 31, 2010

Tiverton Town Council and School Committee Budget Talk Video

I've posted video of the Tiverton Town Council's special meeting with the School Committee.

Posted by Justin Katz at 12:26 PM

March 30, 2010

Two Letters in the Sakonnet

Two letters currently on the Sakonnet Times Web site bring me back into town budget discussions, the first because I wrote it, the second because it attempts to enlist me for the other side.

Posted by Justin Katz at 6:01 AM

March 29, 2010

Council-Committee Budget Talks and More Cap Debate

I'm liveblogging from a Tiverton Town Council special meeting with the School Committee. Also on the agenda is discussion of exceeding the tax cap.

Posted by Justin Katz at 7:28 PM

March 28, 2010

No Raises, Yet Pay Goes Up

I've taken a look at some of the salary line items that are going up in the Tiverton Town Administrator's proposed budget for the next fiscal year. The increases are certainly not exorbitant, but times are extraordinarily difficult.

Posted by Justin Katz at 8:21 AM

March 27, 2010

Bringing the Town Under the Cap

My blog post on the Tiverton Budget Committee's vote to cut the municipal budget to the state levy cap.

Posted by Justin Katz at 4:04 PM