Remember when the Charlestown Citizens Alliance (CCA) tried to pull a fast one over the voters of our town last June? Remember when they tried to take a $3.1 million surplus and build a community/recreation/senior center in Ninigret Park without a plan? Of course you do, because you, the voter, flatly denied their scam at the last budget vote.
Under the guidance of Town Council Vice President Deb Carney, the council gave the taxpayers $1 million of the $3.1 million in tax relief. They also decided (under public pressure) to provide a townwide survey to assess how they should use the remaining surplus. They also agreed to spend $74,000 to hire a firm to develop that survey without any pressure from the Town Council, Planning Commission, staff or taxpayer in general. As council member David Wilkinson stated, “We want a fair an unbiased survey.”
So, where does that leave us? Well, oddly enough it seems that the CCA council members have changed their minds. Only council member Carney supports a townwide survey where everyone will have an opportunity to voice their opinion. If you watch last Wednesday’s agenda meeting on the town’s website, you will see that the CCA has agreed, in private I might add, to do a “random sampling.” So what does this mean to you? Plain and simple, a majority of you will not be asked to participate in the survey.
The CCA has, on many occasions, disenfranchised the voters and/or taxpayers in the past, but this time they downright lied. They think that because they took the majority in the last election, they can do whatever they want, and this is a perfect example of their continued arrogance.
Please attend the Charlestown Town Council meeting tonight at 7 p.m. and tell the council that you want a townwide survey, as they had promised, and not a “random sampling.” After all, it’s our money and we should decide!
This letter appeared in The Westerly Sun on October 15, 2019.