At Monday's meeting, Town Council members approved a request to the RI General Assembly to support the legislative package submitted by Govenor Chafee to assist cities and towns. The resolution was approved by three of the four present Council members, with Councilman Ted Jendzejec opposed.
The package consisted of seven bills ranging from school district accounting compliance, municipal retirement programs, municipal pensions, accidental disability insurance, distressed communities, foundation level school support and education state aid programs.
At the start of discussion, Jendzejec made a motion to approve/not approve each bill individually, but expressed concern that there were three school-related bills in the package and School Committee members had not yet had an opportunity to review them.
Representatives from the governor's office, Susan Bernstein and Kenny Alston were on hand to answer questions from the Council. Alston assured members that even if the resolution was approved, the Town of Coventry would not be forced to enact any of the bills or be penalized for not doing so.
One of the ways the package intended on helping municipalities is by allowing them to break labor contracts.
"If we signed a labor contract and then broke it, our word means nothing then," argued Jendzejec.
Councilman Carl Mattson agreed that the small amount of time that the Council was given to review the package before a decision was requested was very short, but eventually voted to approve the resolution after Jendzejec ask that it be tabled until more information could be gathered.
PFM Group Contract
The Council approved the award of a contract with the PFM Group for coordination of all aspects of the recent bond issuance process for the permanent financing of the Town's Landfill Settlement Bonds at a cost not to exceed $10,500.
Refuse Equipment Contracts
Contracts were approved and awarded to Altrui Bros. Truck Sales Inc. for one refuse truck cab and equipment at a cost of $73,563 and one for a refuse truck chassis and equipment at a cost of $73,563. A third contract was awarded to Beam Truck & Body Inc. for one 30 cubic yard refuse body at a cost of $77,782.
Chuck Smith from the Department of Public Works explained that the three components are being purchased separately and will come together as one complete refuse truck as approved by taxpayers in the fiscal 2011/12 budget.
A request to the RI General Assembly to approve School Capital Bond Referendums as five separate items was approved by the Council.
Memorial Day Parade Committee
Ryan Hall of the Georgianna Hall Memorial Trust formally invited Council members to take part in the recently revived Coventry Memorial Day Parade and also requested $1,500 to help fund a police presence at the event.
"I think this is a great thing to be bringing back the parade," said Councilman Kerry McGee. "I certainly think we can come up wit $1,500 to help you out."
Police Chief Bryan Volpe agreed to waive the cost of any police cars (not officer pay) that may be used during the event.
"We'll do everything we can to help you," said Council President Gary Cote. "We need a little more in town to get people to come out and spend time with their families."
(A meeting for all interested residents will be held at the Community Center on Saturday at 11 a.m.)
The Council will reconvene in a public budget hearing on Thursday at 6 p.m. at Town Hall.