By PAUL J. SPETRINI
EXETER—In a decidedly brisk meeting typical of small town government during the hot summer months, the Exeter Town Council gathered Monday night to briefly discuss a number of routine items and advance communication on a pair of resolutions concerning hot-button statewide issues.
In a 3-2 vote, with members Calvin Ellis and William Monahan dissenting, the council approved a revised resolution regarding the implementation of weapons permits throughout Exeter.
The changes were largely to “clarify” the language that would authorize Town Clerk Lynn Hawkins to begin issues applications for weapons to residents because of a state law that forces Exeter to appoint its clerk for the position because of its lack of a police department.
The biggest changes made involve the instructions that will be presented to local residents who want to apply for a gun permit and clarify the role the town sergeant will play in the process—he or she will review applications and forward a recommendation to the town clerk— and stress the minute details regarding the photos applicants must provide and the fees associated with background reports and fingerprint cards.
That vote came moments after the group unanimously adopted a resolution in support of the Hospital Association of Rhode Island Proposal, a measure the council says is critical to South County Hospital and Westerly Hospital’s “ability to continue to serve their respective communities.”
Aside from those two resolutions, the only matters to spark any sort of debate were a pair of requests by the owners of Yawgoo Valley to expand their liquor license on the property to allow patrons to carry out alcoholic beverages to a tented area and an outdoor entertainment license for a “military-style 5K obstacle course race” on September 15 from 9 a.m.- 3 p.m.
Both requests were approved unanimously.
Rounding out the evening was a potential controversy in the making as Ellis brought to the council a pair of invoices from Cox Communications regarding service at the Exeter Animal Shelter.
Though Ellis said he was just seeking a clarification as to what could have happened, he explained that the mailing address for the shelter was changed on its Cox bill from its April invoice to its May invoice-diverting the paperwork to a P.O. Box in the name of the “Exeter Animal Shelter Committee.”
The questionable move, Ellis said, comes after the shelter has had difficulty in receiving mail recently, leading some to wonder if there’s more to the story than a simple billing mix-up.
Animal Shelter workers are said to be keeping an eye on the issue.
The council will be back in session August 6.