2008-08-28 / News

Governor gives Jamestown community block grant funding

By Sam Bari

It was announced at Monday night's Town Council meeting that Town Planner Lisa Bryer helped secure $41,063 from the state under the Community Development Block Grant Program.

The original request was for $272,000, but Jamestown has to compete with 30 other municipalities for its share of an ever-shrinking grant, Bryer said. "$200,000 of the requested funds were for affordable housing and the remaining $72,000 would have gone to social services," Bryer said.

The grant will be earmarked for housing assistance and social services, Bryer said.

Town administrator's report

Town Administrator Bruce Keiser gave the council copies of the notification from the Environmental Protection Agency regarding the designation of Conanicut Island as a sole source aquifer. He said that the notice stipulates that the landfill remediation is not subject to EPA review under the SSA program.

The GZA has provided preliminary closure plans and cost estimates for the landfill closing, Keiser reported. The approach proposed in the closure plan is consistent with the 50-percent design plan approved by the last Town Council with two exceptions, the elimination of the proposed highway barn, and the consideration of three alternative compost area locations, Keiser said.

The estimated costs provided by GZA assume that all work will be performed by a contractor. Town Engineer Michael Gray is preparing alternative cost projections with grading and earthwork undertaken by the town, Keiser added. He said the town will schedule a presentation by GZA for the Sept. 8 Town Council meeting.

Keiser said that the contractor will begin site work for the salt storage facility next week. The contractor has scheduled delivery of the prefabricated metal highway garage for the first week of October.

A notice that the National Park Service has changed the use conditions for Gould Island from "Public Park" to "Wildlife Conservation," was sent to the town, Keiser said. The Department of Environmental Management (DEM) concurred with this amendment.

Legislative update

State Representative Bruce Long (R - Jamestown, Middletown) reported that he and State Senator M. Teresa Paiva Weed (D - Jamestown, Newport) jointly sent a letter to the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority requesting public meetings on the proposed EZPass toll program. Residents have been calling with concerns about the implementation, and have many questions that the Jamestown lawmakers feel should be answered before the program begins. The letter was hand delivered to the Authority on Monday, Aug. 25.

Long reported that he has been working with Jamestown Parks and Recreation Director Bill Piva and Jamestown Substance Abuse Prevention Task Force Coordinator Laura Hosley to develop an underage drinking "consumption statute." The group presented their case for an underage "consumption" law at the RI Police Chiefs Association's monthly meeting recently held in Jamestown. The chiefs offered encouragement and were interested in pursuing the new legislation, he said. According to Long, the new legislation would make consuming alcohol a violation for people under 21years of age.

"The new law is not just about punishment," Long said. An important part of the new proposal will be intervention for children and teens who need help. In that regard, Long and Hosley have been discussing the possibility of a Jamestown Juvenile Hearing Board. State enabling legislation already exists that allows communities to establish such a board with Town Council authorization.

Licenses and permits

The council approved the application of Michael Schnack for the Jamestown Rotary Club to hold the 33rd Annual Jamestown Classic Bike Race on Monday, Oct. 13, (Columbus Day) around the island from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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