Residents Approve Town Budget While Nell Carpenter is Ruled Out of Order
Carpenter and Cacciola Cast Nay Votes
By Cynthia Drummond for BRVCA
RICHMOND – With council President Nell Carpenter and councilor Lauren Cacciola opposing the budget, residents attending the June 13 Financial Town Meeting nevertheless approved the fiscal year 2022-2023 municipal spending plan by a wide margin.
There were few questions at the annual meeting at Richmond Elementary School, conducted by Town Moderator Mark Reynolds and lasting just 28 minutes.
The residents’ approval of the municipal budget determines the tax rate, which is expected to be $20.58 in 2023, although the tax roll remains to be certified.
The proposed municipal budget is $7.4 million, an increase of 3.37%, or $240,650. The town’s share of the Chariho schoolsbudget, $20.3 million, was previously determined by the Chariho budget referendum.
Neither Carpenter nor Cacciola attended the public hearing on April 19th, during which the remaining three members of the Town Council approved the budget, moving it forward to the Financial Town Meeting.
During her opening remarks at the Financial Town Meeting, Carpenter called for the vote to take place by paper ballot.
“At this time, Mr. Moderator, I would like to motion to move to paper ballot, specific to financial votes,” she said.
Cacciola seconded the motion, which was greeted by several moments of silence, as Reynolds and Town Solicitor Karen Ellsworth appeared to be considering how to respond.
Reynolds informed Carpenter that the town charter did not provide for a paper ballot without a special motion supported by at least 20% of attendees.
“The charter does allow for a paper ballot if 20% of those in attendance vote to do that, but we don’t have a motion on the floor yet,” he said.
To underscore his response, Reynolds also read aloud the provision in the charter, but Carpenter persisted.
“I have made a motion to move to paper ballot, specific to financial votes and not to include minute approval, resolutions, etcetera, simply related to financial votes, and we have a second on the floor,” she said.
“And I’m ruling the motion out of order,” Reynolds stated.
The budget vote, a voice vote, then took place and the budget was approved, with Carpenter and Cacciola voting against it.
After the meeting adjourned, council Vice President James Palmisciano said he was satisfied with the outcome.
“Pleased on many points,” he said. “One, that the hard work that was done by all of the members of the staff, that it is recognized that they are putting forward a fiscally responsible budget. Also, very pleased to see the number of people that had come out and that we were able to have a meeting …
That is democracy, right? There’s always going to be a dissenting vote, but the majority spoke, so that was positive.”
Beaver River Valley Community Association
P.O. Box 10, Shannock, RI 02875