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Richmond Town Council Meeting Update for November 1st 2022


Council ties up loose ends at final meeting


By Cynthia Drummond for BRVCA

November 1st 2022

RICHMOND – The Town Council met Tuesday for the last time before the Nov. 8 election. Outgoing council President Nell Carpenter did not attend, which left council Vice President James Palmisciano chairing the meeting.

Much of the meeting involved approving sales licenses for local businesses. 

The council approved a request from Town Administrator Karen Pinch to approve a contract with the United States Department of Agriculture, which is awarding a grant of $150,000 to the town for improvements to the police station.

“This is a grant funding that came through Senator [Jack] Reed’s office,” she said. “We applied for it back in May of 2021, and our match will be $40,500.”

The funds will be used for upgrades which will include installing epoxy flooring, drop ceilings and additional insulation.

Pinch also asked the council to approve an allocation of $210,000 of the town’s federal American Rescue Plan Act funds to incorporate a town water line in the upcoming roundabout project at the intersection of Richmond Townhouse Road and Route 138.

In her Oct. 26 memo to the council, Pinch described a persistent water hardness issue which would be resolved when the town connected to the water line.

“The water in the Town Hall is so hard that we’ve just had to replace the water tank in the basement twice in two years due to the tank being compromised,” she wrote. “Bringing the waterline into the Town Hall will alleviate that problem and reduce our repair costs associated with the well.”

The council approved the ARPA fund allocation.

Pinch also requested, and received, council approval to accept a $7,460 grant from the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency for the town’s “Community Emergency Response Team,” or CERT.

Training for CERT team members focuses on disaster response and includes classes in first aid, communications, and traffic and crowd control.

Also reporting to the council was Police Chief Elwood Johnson, who described the new police body camera program.

“We are about to receive an award letter, which I’ll forward to the Finance Director, to the tune of $167,000,” he said. “It works out to about $33,000 and change a year. That supports the body worn cameras, from soup to nuts, at no cost to the town.”

Funded by the federal government and the state, the five-year program will cost about $16 million.

Johnson said three Richmond officers had been wearing the cameras, which he said had been useful in recording police operations.

“It has been an excellent tool for creating an accurate record of what transpires between citizens and the police,” he said.

During the public forum at the end of the meeting, councilor Ronald Newman, who is running for reelection, said he had enjoyed serving the town and thanked residents for their support.

“Thank you for supporting this council,” he said. “Of anywhere in this world, the United States is the place I want to be. Rhode  Island is the best state, without a doubt, in the country. I absolutely believe it. And this little city called Richmond Rhode Island – we have 39 cities and towns and by far, I think Richmond’s the best. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve you in the last two years.”

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