I will comment on two things in The Westerly Sun of Wednesday, April 10, 2019, namely LouAnne McCormick’s letter of “Zoning abuse is tearing Hopkinton apart,” and Cynthia Drummond’s article “Voters approve Chariho’s fiscal budget; referendum had low turnout.”
LouAnne’s argument of “equitable division of the financial burden” is already answered. You pay per students, and Charlestown gets less state aid. Now I am a Hopkinton official, but that is what the traditional comeback normally is. Historically there has always been friction in Chariho over money.
Getting to the solar issue, it needs to be asked, how valued should the Planning Board’s recommendation be? Especially when it is unanimous? In addition, to what extent should current zoning be put aside for proposed development?
Hopkinton traditionally of the three towns is most likely to challenge or be the town most contrary to Chariho. That can be said about Hopkinton for decades! We have one seat up next year in Hopkinton for the Chariho School Committee. Any registered voter who desires to run as a Republican for it should contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or (401) 360-4603. I chair the Republicans in Hopkinton.
As regards the article by Cynthia Drummond in regards to the Chariho budget vote, I would like, first, to commend Frank Landolfi for his leadership on the school budget this year. Sharon Davis, new to the town council, gave thoughtful ideas in regards to Chariho finances. All Hopkinton Town Council members deserve credit in their own way in regards to Chariho recently. Recently the three Chariho towns’ town council members were invited to a Chariho School Committee meeting where state legislators were invited. Only Hopkinton had all five of its town council members present! In response to Gary Wright, Richmond Town Council president, about “... stabbing each other in the back,” that can be politics. The facts are the financial differences of the three towns mainly create this problem. Charlestown is “sitting pretty” with a phenomenal tax base, which the other two towns cannot match. Period!
I believe the solution is getting all municipalities, school districts, and various interests involved in education to put collective pressure on the state to better financially support education. The Rhode Island State Constitution requires the Rhode Island General Assembly to “promote education.” Our state legislature is greatly lacking in that regard! Ironically they seem to champion things that clearly are not as important, such as a baseball stadium in Pawtucket, and the 38 Studios fiasco, among others.
Scott Bill Hirst
The writer is vice president of the Hopkinton Town Council.