Not long ago, Charlestown’s Town Council, dominated by the Charlestown Citizens Alliance (CCA), inserted a $3,095,000 line item into the 2019-20 town budget without citizen input. It was designated for construction of an unneeded and unwanted senior/community/ recreation center in Ninigret Park. Charlestown Residents United (CRU) is proud to have helped alert Charlestown citizens to this issue. That budget was overwhelmingly rejected by the citizens of Charlestown. I want to thank all who worked to ensure that outcome.
On July 29th, residents will vote on a new budget proposal. This budget removes the questionable line item.
It uses some of those funds to reduce the property tax rate for all residents and redeploys the remaining funds into budget categories that will keep the money in the safest place until residents can decide how that money should be spent. The information in the Charlestown Pipeline contains an error which is being corrected on the town’s website. Nonetheless, the budget being presented on July 29th is consistent with the wishes of the town citizens and should be approved. I strongly urge all Charlestown voters to vote FOR the new budget on July 29th. A large turnout will confirm that the wishes and intent of Charlestown residents had the desired impact.
I also wish to alert Charlestown residents that this success on the budget does not mean that we can let our guard down. There are still other issues before the town government that could negatively impact the town. For instance, those who wish to limit or eliminate many possible future activities in Ninigret Park and other possible sources of economic expansion in the town are using a long-delayed rewrite of the town’s Comprehensive Community Plan to make that happen. There is also a proposal to build an unneeded and ultimately very expensive bike path in town. It will entail the taking of private property and the destruction of iconic town fixtures like our stone walls and possibly an old cemetery. These plans also seem supported by some members of CCA.
CRU will continue to make issues such as these known to all residents of Charlestown though our website(charlestownresidentsunited.org), letters to the editor, and other resources. Please stay involved and knowledgeable about what happens in your town. As demonstrated with the budget issue, if we stay on top of things that are before the Town Council and committees, we can influence the outcomes for the benefit of all of us. And remember, CRU continues to put the TOWN back in CharlesTOWN.
Kenneth Robbins, Charlestown