Smithfield residents should reject bond issues

Smithfield residents should reject bond issues

Smithfield elected officials have proposed two financially irresponsible bond issues to be voted on in the Nov. 6 election. both of these bond issues, for $45 million and $4.5 million, will cause excessive property tax increases and should be rejected by Smithfield taxpayers and voters.

Recently at a town forum, our elected officials had a discussion about phasing out or making changes to our seniors’ well-deserved tax freeze on property tax increases. Smithfield seniors have paid tax increases on bond issues and town budgets for many years. It is not a coincidence that bond issues and the tax freeze were being discussed at the same time. Eventually, town elected officials will want to take more tax dollars from our seniors to pay for these costly bond issues.

If these bond issues are approved, our town will see the largest yearly property tax increases in the history of the town of Smithfield. These increases will have a cumulative effect of over 20 percent over a four-year period. Our total debt will increase from approximately $22 million to almost $80 million dollars. Our debt service payments will increase from $2.3 million to almost $5 million at some point over the length of the bond issue. This increase will have to be added to yearly budgets and will cause future budgets to become unmanageable. No other city or town in Rhode Island will see these excessive property tax increases.

Our elected and town and state officials have put forth a financially unsound bond issue that will harm the taxpayers of Smithfield. They refuse to apply a common sense priority approach for town improvements with a much smaller bond issue. When our town’s borrowing cost is reduced, we could then approach other improvements.

We should reject all Smithfield’s costly bond issues in order to prevent excessive yearly property tax increases and preserve our town’s financial stability.

Paul Aiello

Former Smithfield Council member