Block Island Times

Council looks to increase funding for BIVFRD

As the Town Council sharpens up its pencils and works to crunch the numbers in the budget for fiscal year 2023, it is increasingly running up against a hard truth.
“We are in a zero-sum situation,” Council Member Keith Stover told the group on April 6 at the public hearing on the budget. “In order to do one thing, we have to not do another (thing).”
Increasingly, the “one thing” all the council members seem to agree on is providing more funding for the Block Island Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department. In the iteration of the budget before the council on April 6, the BIVFRD was still $50,000 or so short of its requested amount.The town is unable to increase its total budget amount, as it is already facing an increase to the tax levy of 6.2 percent. It is only able to request this increase in taxes due to the large increase in debt service, caused primarily by the Overlook purchase. Annual increases to the tax levy are capped at four percent, and Finance Director Amy Land explained that state law will only allow towns to increase the tax levy beyond the cap for certain circumstances, such

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