top of page
  • Greg Mancini

Letter to the Editor: NK Council Remains Ready to Serve in 2024

The following letter was written by Gregory Mancini, President of the North Kingstown Town Council.. It may be read online and/or in the January 18 print edition of The Independent.

As we move into 2024, I write to the citizens of North Kingstown to report on what transpired with their town government in 2023 and what to expect in 2024.

In 2023 this town council passed a budget that fully funded our school department and town departments, and also included a number of initiatives (too many to list), which cumulatively resulted in a property tax increase of approximately 2% at time when inflation was close to 4%.

Throughout our fiscal year all town departments have been working hard to deliver services to our community within their allocated budgets. All are doing well, but I would be remiss if I did not recognize a couple of achievements.

Our town manager and staff did an admirable job in minimizing the damage of a sophisticated cyber-attack on our town government. Our clerk’s office did an excellent job in handling a greater than expected turnout for a special election. And our forward thinking fire department developed a Lockbox program that benefits disabled and senior members of our community.

In addition, our water department once again received the “Best Tasting Drinking Water in Rhode Island” Award. Our water department and town manager were also both instrumental in convincing the council to join a class action PFAS lawsuit. These are just a few examples of success from our very hard-working town employees, which the council and the community sincerely appreciate.

I cannot leave 2023 without recognizing the will of the people in our recent special election where our community voted down a bond for a new middle school and public safety complex as well as for a recreational center by wide margins. Given the current deficient conditions of public safety complex and school facilities it is my hope that we as a community work collaboratively in an open and transparent process to figure out a path forward that will rectify these deficiencies sooner rather than later.

In 2024 there will be challenges. First, IF our town is to move forward with any type of school bond, we need to work with our state general assembly delegation to extend state bonuses that will are scheduled to expire on June 30, 2024, otherwise we will lose out on up to 20% in state reimbursements that property taxpayers will have to pay. That is not to neglect a possible separate bond for a new public safety complex that the council will certainly discuss putting before the voters at some point this year.

Second, there are a number of upcoming challenges with the 2024-25 budget. We have to find a way to attract and retain good quality employees in a marketplace with negligible unemployment while making it affordable to taxpayers. Further challenging this situation is the fact that House Speaker Joseph Shekarchi recently said it is “this is going to be a very difficult budget year”. Accordingly, I am concerned about the amount of state education aid will receive in a time when school expenses continue to increase.

Third, the power outages and flooding that occurred in last week’s storm demonstrate we need to address the local effects of climate change forthwith. This starts with completing the Brown Street parking lot project and working with our community to develop plans to North Kingstown more resilient to climate change. We will also need to find ways to reduce our town emissions as well as decarbonize it to the extent reasonably achievable.

I have every confidence that this council will work with the community at large, our volunteer boards and commission members, and other elected officials in making the most thoughtful decisions to tackle the challenges ahead. In doing so, I believe our town will be stronger for it.

In closing, our municipality has governed for 350 years. It is our obligation to do our part so that North Kingstown continues to prosper for another 350 years. The council looks forward to doing our part and hearing from you regarding any constructive input you may have. Go NK!

Gregory Mancini

The author is the President of the North Kingstown Town Council



bottom of page