SWANSEA — Town Administrator Mallory Aronstein would like to share information about various warrant articles to be considered at the Town of Swansea’s upcoming Special Town Meeting and Annual Town Meeting, which will take place on Monday, May 16.
The meetings begin at 7:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. respectively and will be held in the auditorium at the Joseph Case High School, 70 School St.
The Special Town Meeting Warrant includes an article requesting a designated parking area at the Sandy Beach near the town’s waterfront. At this time, the boat ramp doesn’t allow for scenic viewing. The proposed parking will afford community members a space for short visits and non-boaters.
The Annual Town Meeting will begin with reports from town officials. Residents will then be asked to consider a 42-article Annual Town Meeting Warrant, which includes the town’s proposed operating budget for Fiscal Year 2023 and major proposed projects.
A notable item on the Annual Town Meeting Warrant is Article 21, which will ask the town to vote on the Conservation Preservation Restriction on the 190-acre award-winning golf course at 299 Market St. As part of this project, the town seeks to place a preservation restriction on the property and prevent future building on the area in an effort to maintain the character of Swansea, protect wetlands and wildlife, and add passive recreational opportunities by the way of walking trails. The project will coordinate efforts with the Town of Warren/State of Rhode Island, Wildlands Trust, Nature Conservancy, local business owners and more.
Currently, the Town of Swansea is seeking a grant to reimburse funding for this project, but in doing so the town is required to appropriate $1.5 million from available funds and $535,000 from the Community Preservation Act as the Town’s match to continue in this endeavor.
Article 41 of the warrant will ask residents to vote on the proposed Diman Regional Vocation Technical School’s Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) project. With the MSBA project, the district is looking to build a new school for better educational opportunities, code compliance and more space which will allow the school to accept more students.
The Town of Swansea’s contribution to the project per the regional agreement is 8.4%. The Town will be billed an assessment. The Regional School Building Committee favors the new school instead of multimillion-dollar repairs that will ultimately cost the sending communities to the district more than a new building without expanding enrollment.
Additionally, an article that considers imposing a meals tax of .75% per statute effective October 2022 will be included in the warrant. The additional revenue gained from this meal tax would be used to assist in operating the town, building new projects and advancing the town forward. This endeavor would be similar to what surrounding communities have implemented already.
Numerous Community Preservation articles will also be discussed at Town Meeting, including the restoration of the Martin House stone barn, the purchase of recreational playground equipment for the Swansea Veterans Memorial Park and more. To view the articles, click here.
“We encourage our community members to join us at our upcoming Special and Annual Town Meetings to have their voices heard in our legislative process as we vote on numerous items,” Town Administrator Aronstein said. “I would also like to thank everyone who has contributed to the behind-the-scenes work that goes into crafting our omnibus budget and Town Meeting warrants.”
While mask and building capacity restrictions will be relaxed following the ease of all COVID-19 restrictions in town, the Town of Swansea encourages residents to exercise health and safety practices such as social distancing and proper hygiene while at the Special and Annual Town Meetings.