A motion to establish a committee aimed at deciding how gambling revenue should be distributed and spent failed, as there were literally no volunteers. Earlier this week, the Tiverton Town Council had its first of three sessions seeking to gather feedback on the matter, but only one person was willing to take part in the consultation.
As revealed by the Chairman of the School Committee, Jerome Larkin, he decided to speak as a citizen, parent, and individual, but his request would affect local schools.
The man asked that gambling revenue that is expected to be brought to the town by the Tiverton Casino Hotel, which is owned by Twin River, is used to fill in the structural deficit gap that could result in a large number of layoffs during the next school year in case it is not addressed on time. Mr. Larkin shared that using the casino revenue to reduce the deficit would be appropriate as a one-off measure.
According to the Tiverton treasurer’s report, almost $1 million was available in the casino revenue account of the town at the end of May. Mr. Larkin explained that he believed that it was time for the gambling industry to try and help the local community, especially considering the fact that the town’s appropriation of the school department rose by just $1.
Petittioner Budget Proposals Involving Gambling Revenue Get Rejected
In 2020, 24.2 positions equivalent to full-time jobs were eliminated as part of the authorities’ efforts to offset the budget.
As previously revealed, a budget that has already got the approval of the Budget Committee is set to be included on the financial ballot of the town that is scheduled to take place on July 17th. It calls for a 4% growth in the school budget, but according to town school officials, the proposed increase would still not be enough, because they need about $1.4 million more than the amount that is to be ensured by the proposed increase.
A petitioner budget that was presented by school committee members Diane Farnworth and Deborah Pallasch and was seeking to address the deficit, got rejected by the Board of Canvassers last week and would not be included on the FTR ballot. A petitioner budget proposal unveiled by resident Justin Katz was also rejected by the Board.
As revealed by town solicitor Michael Marcello at the time, both proposals were not eligible for the ballot. The first proposal surpassed the tax levy cap. It would also cost the general fund reserve an amount larger than the one that was available during the last audit. On the other hand, Mr. Katz’s proposal would reduce the general fund reserve by an amount larger than the audited surplus. The proposal also sought to use gaming revenue that is currently off-limits because it is restricted by an ordinance issued by the town council.