The municipal council cleans up | Block Island Time
The city council did some year-end housekeeping at its June 15 meeting. As the fiscal year ends on June 30, the city’s chief financial officer, Amy Land, led them through what she called “annual exercises.”
The first was to reallocate spending that was “unplanned or above forecast”. All expenditures are offset by underspending in other sectors or departments. Expenditures range from processing fees resulting from the acceptance of credit cards by the Ports Department to the transfer of the salary of the Director of Public Works from the Roads Department to the Administrative Department.
One expense caught the council’s attention: $90,200 in “capital investment” for the “Chief’s House” at the Coast Guard Station, which was commissioned to house Police Chief Matthew Moynihan. City manager Maryanne Crawford said one of the biggest expenses for making the building more livable was heating and cooling.
First Warden André Boudreau said he knew Robbie Gilpin worked on the roof.
Second Director Sven Risom asked if the house would be available for a new police chief.
Crawford said it will, but there’s still a lot to do.
“I felt like we all knew the work was going on,” Councilor Keith Stover said, “but where did the money come from? I’m curious how it works.
Land said work started last summer and the money came from other parts of the budget. “We are constantly assessing whether we have the capacity to absorb [the
“I feel like spending $90,000 is a political conversation we should have had,” Stover said. “It’s my opinion.”
“I agree with Keith one hundred percent,” Boudreau said. “It was money well spent, but yeah.”
Everyone seemed to agree that there should have been more transparency, but were happy with the results so far.
“I’m so glad we finally got to use this building after 25 years,” Ball said, referring to when the city took ownership of the Coast Guard station complex.
Resident Bill McCombe said: ‘The question is whether it’s full, and if not, let’s allocate those funds to him.’
In the end, the Council approved all budget transfers.
Regarding the allocation of unused capital funds in fiscal year 2022 to 2023, Land said, “Again, this is somewhat of an annual exercise.” She explained that the board would allow reserve funds not spent in fiscal year 2022 to be spent on the same items in fiscal year 2023. With the exception of money for real estate revaluations, all elements appear in the investment budget.
One such item is the Mansion Beach bathroom. Crawford said the project would require input from RI’s environmental management department, and “they’ll be there in the fall.”
One last bit of tidying up the books was for the board to approve the write-off of uncollectible taxes, which totaled $693.59 for 2011. Still, looking at the names on the list, Risom wondered why the one of them should be written off.
Land said the amounts were not property taxes, but rather motor vehicle taxes or, in a few cases, intangible property taxes. “The state has a mechanism to collect motor vehicle taxes,” and probably had, so it was just a matter of getting them off the city’s books.
The city council also denied an application by the Block Island Lions Club for a Class F liquor license for the Run Around the Block road race at Fred Benson Town Beach. Currently, no alcohol is permitted on the beaches or in town facilities.
“Until we change policy, we’ll have to be the Grinches,” councilman Mark Emmanuelle said.
Crawford said she spoke to Lions Club member Robbie Closter and suggested that after the race, participants move to another venue where alcohol could be served, such as The Sullivan House.
The Block Island Yacht Club was recently denied a similar request to serve alcohol at an event at Ball O’Brien Park and Ball wondered why groups bothered to apply when they knew the city’s alcohol policies.
City Clerk Millie McGinnes said she submitted the application because the applicant thought there might be “wiggle room”.
The motion was defeated unanimously.