SOUTH KINGSTOWN – Economic development in South Kingstown is high on the priority list of the members of the South Kingstown Town Council for the next two years.
The members, including two who are in their first term, all cited economic development especially in South Kingstown’s villages, as well as working with South County Hospital and the University of Rhode Island as an issue they wish to address at Monday night’s meeting, their first as a group.
“We’ve got a lot of good work done the past two years and we’re looking forward to some new initiatives collaborating with town staff, the school committee and our legislators,” said Ella Whaley, council president.
All council members thanked the voters and promised to work for the benefit of South Kingstown residents.
“I look forward to working with this wonderful group of people and working on projects that are already in place and starting to work on projects that concern all of you, the citizens,” said Councilwoman Margaret “Meg” Healy, who is serving her first term in public office. “I promise to give my best and my dedication to the people of this beautiful community, which we call home.”
In new business, the town council approved a holiday sales license for Drift LLC, a new skate and surf shop, which recently opened on Main Street in Wakefield.
The council also voted to accept the resignation of Bernard H. Poppe from the South Kingstown Assessment Board of Review. Poppe has served on the board since the 1960s. In lieu of this resignation, the council then voted unanimously to appoint Bradford Hevenor to the assessment board of review for a term ending Nov. 2015.
Finally, the council unanimously approved an award of contract to Verizon Wireless to provide cell phone service to phones in use in town departments. Town Manager Steve Alfred said that the town previously had a contract with Nextel, which is phasing out by June of next year.
He said there is no penalty for leaving the current contract with Nextel and the town has dealt with connectivity and coverage issues, which they are confident will improve with Verizon’s service. The cost will remain relatively the same with the new contract and there will be one master contract to better monitor use in each of the town’s departments.
Currently, 38 phones are in use in town departments and 14 are used by the South Kingstown Police Department.
In financial business, the Town of South Kingstown refinanced $4.26 million in municipal bonds, Town Manger Steve Alfred informed the town council during the meeting..
In August, the South Kingstown Town Council, at the recommendation of Alan Lord, the town’s finance director, to continue to pursue a private placement sale for the bonds.
At that time, Lord told the council that a he received a bid of interest savings of $260,000 with proper placement refinancing but that he felt the savings should be near $380,000 or $400,000.
Lord continued with the private placement and was able to negotiate $426,990 in savings.
Alfred said these savings will be incorporated into the town’s debt structure over two years and will be used to help reduce the impact on taxes for future bond funding. He also commended Lord on his persistence in pursuing these savings when refinancing.