Time to make your voice heard

Thu, 05/03/2018 - 9:00pm

A year-and-a-half ago, one of the more important questions in recent Block Island history was put to voters: Whether or not to buy two-thirds of Block Island Power Company stock to create a local utility district. The build-up to the vote was intense, with passionate views on each side, and the decision to move ahead with the purchase was decided by just two votes. In the days following that special town vote, more than one person expressed some dismay that they had skipped the meeting, knowing their vote would have meant something — particularly if they were not in favor of the purchase.

There are several questions on this year’s warrant that deserve the attention of as many island voters as possible, as they will also have long-lasting impacts on the island. Two questions specifically are designed for the long-term: a $1.5 million bond question that would pay for a new home for a senior town employee, and a separate dwelling to house six other town employees. This complex would be built across from the school in what is known as the Thomas Property. 

Two questions focus on the broadband initiative. One question is to pay for a network that would connect the Block Island School, the public safety complex, the Medical Center, the Island Free Library, and Town Hall. That is a $550,000 bond. The other is for $125,000 to pay for a consultant to help guide the town when it comes time to build out the island-wide broadband network.

As for the other bond questions, one is specific and localized, and the other is routine: two million dollars for a revetment at West Beach to contain the exposed abandoned landfill, and giving the Water and Sewer companies authorization to borrow monies for capital projects.

According to weather forecasts, the day of the Financial Town Meeting, Monday, May 7 will be cloudy but mild — nothing to keep anyone away from the cafeteria at the Block Island School, where the meeting will be held beginning at 7 p.m.

Cast your votes. Doing so will feel much better than those Tuesday morning blues if you decide to stay home.