Letter to the Editor: R.I. Ballot Questions 5, 6, & 7 Of Interest To EG Residents
EG Town Manager Bill Sequino outlines how the referenda for $20 million for clean water, $20 million for environmental and recreational purposes, and $25 million for affordable housing, would impact East Greenwich.
There are several proposed bond issues on the November ballot of interest to East Greenwich. Question 5 would authorize the issuance of $20,000,000 for the Clean Water Finance Agency. We have utilized this agency to finance our sewer line extension program east of Route 2 as well as improvements to our wastewater treatment plant. A recent example is the nitrogen removal facility to improveconditions in Greenwich Cove. We rank first among the state’s wastewater plants for nitrogen removal. We anticipate future projects to ensure the maintenance of our treatment plant. The plant went operational in 1988 and is over 24 years old, operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Notwithstanding its age, our facility ranks among the best in operating efficiency.
Question 6 would authorize the issuance of $20 million for environmental and recreational purposes. $8 million of the proceeds can be used to acquire open space or develop, rehab or acquire recreational facilities. Our Land Trust has not purchased open space land since 2003 and this would provide an opportunity for funding. There are several parcels west of Route 2 worthy of acquisition. A site is currently under review on Tillinghast Road. All desired sites are also listed in our comprehensive community plan.
Question 7 would authorize $25 million for affordable housing, both houses and apartments. The State has mandated that every community have 10% of their housing stock as affordable. To be considered affordable there needs to be a government subsidy involved. East Greenwich has 4.26 percent or 230 affordable housing units leaving a deficit of 310 units. The past affordable housing bond issue accounted for 53 percent plus of the value of residential construction permitted in Rhode Island from 2007-10. East Greenwich was not a recipient of funding from that last issue. Aside from the construction of housing, the influx of $25 million into the construction industry will benefit the economy.