FTM 2018: $1.5 million bond for town employee housing passes

9:35 p.m. — The bond to approve up to $1.5 million bond to build two dwellings, one for a senior town employee, and another for six additional town employees passed on a voice vote, but then a hand count was called for, which again supported the original approval.
The vote was delayed due to a lengthy discussion about the second dwelling for the six employees. With some expressing concern about how that second dwelling would managed, an amendment was proposed to approve just the $470,000 for the single family dwelling and postpone a vote on the second dwelling, but that motion failed.
8:27 p.m. — $550,000 was approved for the Community Anchor Institution broadband network. The vote carried with little discussion, and after the vote was tallied some in the audience applauded.
8:31 p.m. — $125,000 was approved for technical expertise on the island-wide broadband network plan and institution.
8:33 p.m. — A paper ballot was requested for the bond issue to spend $1.5 million on a town employee housing campus, which failed. Discussion ensued, with speakers for and against the project.
Early votes in the meeting:
7:21 p.m. — The meeting is underway. Town Moderator Fred Leeder opened the meeting, and First Warden Ken Lacoste gave a brief recap of the past year, and asked for a moment of silence for Norris Pike, longtime islander, and member of many boards and commissions, who passed away last year.
7:28 p.m. — Town Manager Ed Roberge highlights several initiatives of the past year, including the renovations of the Feed Benson Beach Pavilion, the Old Town Road bridge, the hiring of a new Town Manager, and a Public Health official. The budget is meant to maintain Block Island’s quality of life, including the economy and the island’s infrastructure, according to Roberge.
7:35 p.m. — According to the Board of Cancassers, 183 registered voters are attending the meeting.
7:40 p.m. — Reports from Town Finance Report, School Department, Medical Center Report, Housing Board, Land Trust — all approved with no discussion. Annual operating and capital budget report as approved by the Town Council and Town Manager was begun to vote on department by department at 7:45 p.m.
7:47 p.m. — Islander Edie Blane questioned whether the Facilities Manager actually made repair work on buildings. Town Manager Ed Roberge said that Sam Bird did do repair work on island buildings.
Resident Jim Hinthorn questioned whether there were negotiated pay increases for the Town Manager. Roberge said there were no increases for his pay in the budget.
The Administration Budget for Town Hall of $1.42 million passed.
The budget of $426,000 for the Finance Department passed.
$282,258 for Fire and Rescue passed. 
$922,602 for the Police Department passed.
The total budget of $14,499,075 was passed.
$261,492 for the GIS/Technology Department 
$987,087 for Highways and Maintenance passed.
$624,746 for Harbors Department passed.
$219,793 for the Building Official Department passed.
$409,481 for the Recreation Department passed.
$506,429 for the Library Department passed.
$209,247 for GIS/Technology passed.
$5,485,951 for community support, which includes the Block Island School, passed
563,110 for capital tax passed.
$2,197,368 for debt service passed.


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