Town Council Candidates Pt. 2: Art District, Turbines & Lawsuits

How do candidates feel about wind turbines in town? Or creating a tax-free art district in Wickford Village?

Candidates also discussed a possible tax-free art district in Wickford Village to help foster business. While nearly every candidate supported the measure in theory, many questioned its practicality during the current economic climate. Democrat Tracey McCue suggested establishing a term limited tax break while Democrat Michael Bestwick (an incumbent on the council) proposed tax-free holidays. Republican Kerry McKay also pointed out that creating a tax-free district in Wickford may not be fair to other areas in town, but supported a reduction in sales tax in the village for a “short period of time.”

“Even in tough economic times, there has to be some fun and pleasure,” said Independent Colin O’Sullivan. “I’m sure we can find some savings where we can contribute to some efforts like this proposal.”

The group also sounded off on one of the biggest controversies in town – wind turbines. Last week, the final pieces of a 413-feet wind turbine were erected at North Kingstown Green off Ten Rod Road. Most candidates agreed that turbines should be banned in North Kingstown, citing setbacks, potential health issues and its impact on the character of town.

“We don’t need these in our town,” said Independent Richard Lamere. “They’re out of character.”

Republican Carol Hueston, who was part of the council that approved the contentious wind energy ordinance that has would support smaller, house-mounted turbines in town. Bestwick, also on the council, reiterated that the town is waiting to see what action the state will make with upcoming legislation. The third council incumbent at the forum, current Council President Elizabeth Dolan, admitted that the council may have moved too quickly to pass the ordinance but maintained her support of wind energy.

“One person’s monstrosity can be another person’s piece of art,” said Council President Elizabeth Dolan.

Candidates were also asked to address the various lawsuits involving the town and school department and local unions. This past year has seen legal action between the town and school department, the town and the local firefighters union and the school department and the support professionals union.

“Lawsuits have become too easy a way out,” said Independent candidate Rickey Thompson. “The only people who are obviously willing with these lawsuits is attorneys. I’m not. You’re not.”

“Sometimes you don’t want to sue, but sometimes it’s absolutely necessary,” said Hueston. According to Hueston, the town was able to save approximately $1.1 million over the past decade following an arbitration battle with the firefighters.

The only candidate absent from the forum was Democrat Donald J. Souza Jr.


Click here for part one of the council candidates' forum.


Click here for video of all the candidate forums.

Ed Renehan November 02, 2012 at 07:40 PM
PLAINTRUTH November 04, 2012 at 03:42 AM
Hi Martha, I am just blown away by your comment on the Patch. You represent the Chamber of Commerce in North Kingstown and your paying members. The NK town council recently donated $15,000 of our taxpayer money to the Chamber. You cosponsored the public forum for the town council candidates on 10/24 with the promise that the video would be available on the Chamber website. NINE days later the tape was not available and when Straighttalker asked where the tape was, then suddenly 2 1/2 hours later it appeared and you make excuses about volunteers, hurricanes and power cuts. Give me a break! Sandy did not hit until 5 days after the candidates forum. We all value volunteers work, but a professional organization like the Chamber should not rely on it when it comes to important matters like the election of WHO RUNS THE TOWN! Maybe you should have spent some of our $15,000 that were given to you to employ professional services and actually tell the previous owners of that money what the heck is going on in our town???? I give you a free pass for 3 or 4 days for Sandy, but you were 9 days late. Your posting was a weak unprofessional excuse.
Politics Sheriff of NK November 04, 2012 at 04:25 AM
Pughe is along with Halley(!) part of a basically useless, historically useless slug of a group called "the chamber". At last check, Pughe (with her zero business experience) was going to "divide the town into quadrants" and then 'help the quadrants get along with each other'. With "talent" like Pughe and Halley, are we even surprised "the chamber" cant videotape their own event adequately? Any kid with a $200 dig vidcam and a YouTube account could have had it up that night!
magician November 04, 2012 at 02:05 PM
I agree with Plaintruth's remarks 100%. I attended the forum and IMO it was a painful experience. The 30 second response time given to candidates was inadequate. But the worst part was the same question being answered over and over by each candidate. How boring. The poor attendance at the forum may be an indication that the public is so turned off by what has been going on in town that they just don't care anymore. I hope that is not the case. Everyone in NK has a lot riding on this election. Our town's future is at the voting booth on Tuesday. To all of the voters in town, please vote, do not be complacent and think that your vote does not count. There are few elections where we, as voters, have many good choices. This Tuesday is one of those elections. We must all cast our ballots for the good of NK.
Politics Sheriff of NK November 04, 2012 at 03:03 PM
Magician, want magic? DO NOT VOTE FOR THE COUNCIL INCUMBENTS. That would help a million.


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