Council finds alternative to sticky health situation

Council finds alternative to sticky health situation

SMITHFIELD - If you like your sweets gooey, this news may be hard to swallow: The free pastry put out before each Town Council meeting is getting a health-conscious makeover.

That's the way the cookie crumbles in the world of municipal government, where a lack of dough can have unintended consequences.

The council, recently criticized for making charitable donations from its contingency fund, voted to abolish the account - which also paid for the coffee, Danish pastry, muffins, and assorted other pastries that it offers the public.

All its not lost, however. Councilwoman Suzanna Alba, on whose suggestion the collation was started last year, said she intends personally to stock the snack table.

She says that she won't be baking, but will use some of her $4,000 council stipend to buy lighter items that were among the previous offerings, such as granola and fruit bars and oatmeal cookies.

Previously, the coffee and snacks were supplied by the Smithfield Coffee Co. at a cost of about $50 per twice-a-month meeting.

"We'll do less pastry and more healthy options," said Alba, who donates her stipend to charities as part of a campaign promise. She figures that at grocery store prices the cost shouldn't top more than $12 a meeting, especially because the coffee will now be made by the Town Hall staff.

She said the snacks themselves aren't really the point of the collations, which she sees as "offering space and time for people to get together and network."

I don't want that to go away," she said.