2008-11-26 / News

Council can't see reason for golf course oversight

By Sam Bari

The matter of establishing a committee to oversee the townowned golf course came up again at Monday's meeting of the Town Council.

At the session, the council reviewed a letter from Clarke Street resident John Sheehan that expressed concerns about the management of the Jamestown Golf Course. Sheehan's letter said that he is ". . . sympathetic with the issues of the neighbors of the course and their objections to the cavalier manner in which they are treated with regard to plantings affecting their views, etc., I am even more concerned with the revelation that the town's people have little in the way of a management role in affecting the performance of the course," the letter said.

During discussion, Councilor Barbara Szepatowski said that it's a little late to appoint a committee when the Mistowskis just renewed their lease agreement for five to ten years. "I think the attitude of the letter is just wrong," Szepatowski said. She praised the management company for the outstanding job they have been doing and added that she didn't understand what having a committee would accomplish. She also suggested that the contract for course management be put out for bid when the lease was up for renewal.

Councilor Robert Sutton agreed. "I don't understand the purpose of that letter either," Sutton said. "I remember when the town first bought the golf course. When I look at it today, it is vastly improved." He said that the Mistowskis are professionals who have managed the course in an exemplary fashion.

"I'm not one who believes in more committees, but I really don't understand what the function of a golf course committee would be," Sutton said. "How is a committee going to improve something that doesn't need improving?" he asked.

In other business, Town Clerk Arlene Petit mentioned that she had 21 applications to fill positions on various committees and commissions. She suggested setting aside a three-hour block of time when it would be convenient for the council to hold interviews. Petit said that she would look into the matter and post the information when they settled on a date.

Petit also mentioned that only one Town Council meeting will be held next month on Dec. 15. She said that the water and sewer meeting would be held on the same date and that the meeting would begin at 6 p.m., with the regular Town Council meeting starting at 7 p.m.

In the open forum, outgoing State Representative Bruce Long (R-Jamestown, Middletown), said he wrote a letter to Rep. William J. Murphy, the House Speaker, requesting that he call the House back into session to take up the current $350 million state deficit.

Long suggested at the Nov. 24 Town Council meeting that the current House members meet in their respective committees, exchange ideas, and develop appropriate means to immediately reduce expenses. Long said, "There are six weeks remaining in the current term. Our work during this period will provide a head start for the 2009 legislature. This is not a time to be spending any funds not deemed totally necessary."

According to Long, the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation will allow in-kind contributions from the town toward the 50/50 match of the $30,000 Wind Energy Feasibility Study grant that had been previously approved. The Town Council had contributed $25,000 toward the study, and it will be allowed to add in the dollar value of the time put in by town employees. RIEDC recently established rules and regulations requiring the match, Long said.

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