Virginia Lee – YES on Open Space Questions
The following letter appeared in local newspapers and is shared with us here by the author Virginia Lee. Ms. Lee is a member of the Charlestown Town Council.
Fellow Citizens of Charlestown,
When I went door to door campaigning for a seat on the Town Council last year, there were two compelling messages that I heard from residents again and again: “We live here because the property taxes are low and because we love it like it is, rural and beautiful”. Your YES vote for the Open Space Bond referendum on the ballot next Monday, June 1st is critical to support our quality of life.
Please take the opportunity to act on these values – vote YES to approve Charlestown’s Annual Budget, and vote YES for the Open Space Bond this Monday. Polls will be open from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Charlestown Town Hall on Route 2.
Why is your vote so important?
First, the budget for 2016 was prepared by careful and expert work by many town officials and our Budget Commission to find the right balance of funding our important public services while constraining expenses to keep our taxes low – still among the lowest in Rhode Island. The budget endorsed by our Budget Commission, includes $641,956 for parks and recreation, about 22% of which is dedicated to capital expenses and maintenance of structures, mostly in Ninigret Park.
Second, voting YES for the open space bond replenishes the funds to protect open space now and in the future. The last open space bond for $2 million over a decade ago was depleted by 2013. Replenishing this money is critical to allow our town to be eligible for larger amounts of federal and state funding to acquire open space for our health and welfare in the future. Open space safeguards our drinking water, treats our waste water, and protects the quality of our rivers, lakes and salt ponds.
Third, voting YES for the conservation easement for the Charlestown Moraine retains control of land that was purchased for open space – and it does not cost us anything. In fact, it provides additional conservation forever – in perpetuity, as intended.
These issues reflect the voices of Charlestown citizens. Please vote YES to bring us one step closer to sustaining its character for now and for many generations to come. Thank you!
Member of the Charlestown Town Council