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State's withholding of aid draws Hoover's ire

January 22, 2014

Coventry Town Manager Tom Hoover (left) chats with Gov. Lincoln Chafee at the re-dedication of the Gen. Nathanael Greene Bridge. File Photo.

COVENTRY— Involved parties have continued to meet and discuss the unfunded pension liability of the School Related Personnel’s (SRP) plan, but recently, the RI Department of Revenue decided to withhold local incentive aid because the town will not take responsibility for the $24 million.

Town Manager Tom Hoover explained that on Jan. 15, a letter was sent to him from Rosemary Booth Gallogly, Director of Revenue, regarding the town’s involvement with the SRP plan.

According to the letter, Booth Gallogly recognized that the town submitted an improvement plan for both municipal and police employees to the state but not for SRP.

Town Council President Gary Cote explained that the council approved plans for both municipal and police plans because “we’re responsible for these two plans but not for the SRP plan.”

Because no improvement plan was submitted for the SRP pension fund, Booth Gallogly stated that Coventry would not qualify for Article 11 municipal incentive aid for cities and towns in 2014.

The Municipal Incentive Aid Act was introduced by Governor Lincoln Chafee to encourage municipalities to improve their retirement plans and “reduce unfunded liabilities.”

Chafee put aside funds for the program for fiscal years 2014-2016, equaling $10 million each year.

According to the letter however, “the $166,126 the town [Coventry] would have been eligible for will be distributed to the other eligible municipalities, unless a resolution is reached before that time.”

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