No new Task Force: N.S. council to oversee ongoing police station repairs

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NORTH SMITHFIELD – The search to find five volunteers to replace those who resigned from the town’s Municipal Building Review Task Force last month is over, at least for now.

Members of the Town Council agreed this week that the plan to have councilors temporarily serve in the positions has been working well, and should continue for the near future.

“The last two meetings we’ve had as a task force, I thought, were extremely productive,” said Councilor John Beauregard at a meeting on Monday, Dec. 4. “I think we all learned a lot more in those two meetings than we did all this time. Decisions were able to be made immediately. Everything was done in real time.”

“I think the move, right now, is to put the brakes on creating a new task force until at least the repairs are done,” Beauregard said.

Councilors assumed the roles last month following the resignation of all five members of the MBRTF, a volunteer group that was guiding the town’s effort to address the deteriorated building that houses the North Smithfield Police Department. The board had led the initiative to put a question that would have authorized the town to take out an $18 million bond for the project on the ballot in November. The bond question failed, however, with two councilors – Paulette Hamilton and President Kimberly Alves – actively opposing the plan, and in the week that followed, the full MBRTF resigned, noting the town’s governing board seemed to want to move in a different direction.

The town had initially advertised the vacant task force positions, also seeking volunteers to fill openings on other boards and commissions. But while several appointments to other committees were confirmed this week, councilors agreed to hold off on filling the vacancies on the MBRTF, a board that currently is overseeing immediate repairs to the building at 575 Smithfield Road following failure of the bond.

Councilor Douglas Osier agreed that the council should continue to serve in the role, saying that they should at least remain until decisions are made regarding what direction the board wants to move in the future. Members have discussed possibly putting a new police station bond question before North Smithfield voters in 2024.

“I think if we were to appoint people right now, we’d kind of be setting them up for failure,” said Osier, noting the current group has been, “moving steadily,” on various elements, such as a recent effort to address needed roof repairs. “We made a lot of decisions.”

“We’re hearing things directly instead of two weeks later,” said Beauregard. “You’re not going to have that if you have a go between.”

“I have to agree,” said Alves. “It’s just so much easier going right to the source. Last week, we approved, like, four projects. Now we’re having conversations with them directly and with the contractor too.”

Alves asked Town Clerk Joanne Buttie to hold on to applications already received.

“Once we’re ready, we can reach out to people and see if they’re still interested,” Alves said.

Buttie later told NRI NOW that the town has received somewhere between 10 and 12 applications for the board.

Hamilton said that once they’re ready, the council needs to be specific in the resolution moving forward to appoint a new board.

“I’d like to see responsibilities. I’d like to see timeline,” Hamilton said. “I think it’s important that we get this at least in the pipeline.”

Osier noted that to get a question on the 2024 General Election ballot, the board will have to have, “some type,” of conceptual plan in place by March.

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17 COMMENTS

  1. Mr. Clifford
    Why don’t you mention the fact that we pay taxes on unused land or the fact that my family paid taxes on unused land from the 1950’s until 1997 when my father built his house in this nice community. When we moved into this community in 2007 we thought it would be a nice place to maybe start a family but people like you make many residents want to leave. You are attacking the wrong family. Why aren’t you attacking the people who are hurting the community and using our tax dollars properly? The people who don’t care about the youth of the town or the ones that don’t care what our high school gym looks like with a hanging net, old bleachers and a broken floor. You can’t attack these people because you are one of them. My family have been actively involved in youth sports for 10 years. Give unlimited time and energy to help the youth have a great experience. As far as my taxes the key is that we paid them, we paid them along with paying for private school the last 2 years. We pay our taxes instead of standing in front of the town council complaining about how much we have to pay on rental property that earns income. Mr. Clifford obviously you know where I live if you would like to be a man come over for a cup of coffee and go for a walk around the property that my family has paid taxes on for years I would be happy to listen to your views, but if you want to make allegations without knowledge or proof then you are part of the problem not the solution and this town don’t need people like you!

  2. Geez, Louise. Stop with the bickering. I would love to see all that energy on building a municipal center. Everyone agrees that we must make that old building safe while the police are there. I’ve had several people approach me and ask why wasn’t done years ago? I answer to not live in the past. Fix it. Move on. Tecton already has plans in place. I don’t see anyone on this thread running to join the Task force anytime soon.

  3. Mr Clifford, what happened to you in your life to make you such an angry, divisive, hateful person? Aren’t you tired? It’s not your opinions that are so annoying, it’s your persistently negative and nasty commentary that is just too much to take.

    • I was taught to question decisions of government and not just go along to get along. I’m not angry, divisive or hateful but you don’t seem to have a problem with those behaviors based on the comment you just posted. Here’s a question I have for you. now that I’ve responded to yours. What happened in your life to make you so insecure that you need to hide behind an alias as an adult when criticizing someone? Why would you be reluctant to identify who you are when you have such strong opinions? I’m guessing you are a friend or relative of some public official who I have criticized, since you like to portray questioning acts of public officials as “negative and nasty”. That’s actually code for “please don’t remind voters of his or her record”.

      • I completely support questioning public officials and holding people accountable. You do more than just that. I am secure with myself but you have created a culture that discourages a healthy debate because you go low when challenged. I don’t need you googling me to try to find something to share here in an attempt to discredit me. You’ve done just that on so many occasions with those you don’t agree with. That’s not striving for accountability, that’s just being hateful.

        • Don’t kid yourself, you’re not secure. Secure adults do not hide their identities. Also, there’s a big difference between someone being “challenged” and being “attacked”. I’m sure you’d prefer that I simply interpret comments like Deb’s as a “challenge” but they are clearly an “attack” and I won’t hesitate to respond in kind when I’m attacked.

  4. It should be very interesting to see how much accountability will be assigned to those who seem to simply derail projects that would benefit the entire village to advance their small constituency goals and myopic views to cast opposing political members into a bad light. 18 million? Let’s see what the final cost will be when the dust settles to do it correctly , to code, with safety and quality. ( a pre- World War Two school). For a refurbished mess. Penny wise, dollar stupid. You get what you pay for.

    • I find it very interesting that a small constituency of close to 63% of voters chose not to fund a bond obligated at $18,000, 000 dollars. Is it possible that they felt they were not “fully informed,” of the financial implications?

      The Town Council has accomplished more in the last month than in the entire time the MBRTF was engaged in the process. At this point there are plans to replace the roof and the masonry work at the front on the building….I would assume that the windows might also be replaced in the same fashion, by the TC prioritizing need of repairs. This was all work that could have been done many, many years ago.

      This was nothing more than a case of willful neglect, perpetrated on the electorate by many current and former town officials. Interestingly, even John Beauregard has come onboard with the TC getting things done in a timely fashion and he applauded Ms. Alves, Ms. Hamilton and Mr. Osier for the work they accomplished.

  5. “Some type” of conceptual plan in place is exactly what the problem in the most recent election.
    Residents want firm facts and figures not a conceptual plan. Members of the current council turned a blind eye to the lack of work being done since 2016 but now seem to feel confident they’ll handle it the right way this time around. The sooner a committee is appointed, the sooner we’ll have some long term options to discuss. Dragging this process out is counter productive but maybe Mr. Osier, Mr. Beauregard and Mrs. O’Hara are still opposed to giving voters choices.

    • At this point I think I can speak for a lot of residents. You are our biggest problem and at this point we would appreciate it if you stopped talking. You have done nothing but cause division in this town. If someone doesn’t agree with your view they’re canceled. Just stop!

      • Miss “I think I can speak for a lot of residents” certainly has a very high opinion of herself doesn’t she, but that doesn’t surprise me in the least. Have you won everyone over by explaining how to have their property assessed at the same value for 4+ years? I’d even be one of your followers if you disclosed how you got that to work out for you. I’m guessing it must have been more than just poor housekeeping skills that kept your assessment at just $285,900 for all those years.

        • You really are creepy. Who goes out of their way to look up a person’s personal information to broadcast it on NRI. Didn’t you pocket over 400k of tax payer dollars in 2012 for development rights for 18 acres??? don’t you only pay the town $53 a year for those acres???

          • When you criticized residents on my page for complaining about the lousy revaluation job that was done, I knew immediately you must have done just fine so I looked up the assessment on the “public website”, namely the town of north smithfield tax assessors department. It’s not “personal information” it’s actually a public record. If you’d take the time to use it yourself, you’d see that your claim that I owned 18 acres of land and only paid $53 in taxes is incorrect. Lol.

            • I was blocked from your “page” long before you were complaining about that. This article and my comment to you had nothing to do with taxes but that’s all you seem to be fixated on. You are just another keyboard warrior that has nothing better to do.

            • You have some serious deep rooted issues. I haven’t been on your page since you blocked me over me disagreeing with you about the busses in a junkyard on Providence Pike but nice try. Consider this a warning don’t EVER broadcast any of my personal information on any article or social media account. I don’t care if it’s public knowledge or not. it’s creepy! Try staying on topic. What about the 400k?

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