I am interested in attending Exeter’s Annual Financial Town Meeting. Can you tell me what happens at the meeting?
The Annual Financial Town Meeting is governed by Article III of the Town of Exeter’s Charter. The Charter provides that the electors (voters) of the Town of Exeter shall assemble annually on the second Tuesday of every June for the purpose of levying taxes and making expenditures for the Town’s debts and in support of the Town’s services. A Town Moderator, who is elected at each even-numbered year election, presides over the meeting. No business can be conducted unless there is a quorum of fifty (50) electors present.
In short, the Annual Financial Town Meeting is when the Town’s budget is approved. Unlike most towns and municipalities, the electors of the Town control the budget destiny. At the meeting, Town Council members may make recommendations for a proposed budget based upon their study and analysis of the budget recommendations of Town department heads, but the voters of the Town present at the meeting may agree, override, or change the recommendations. It is not uncommon for electors to speak of their own recommendations to override any such proposal.
Pursuant to Rhode Island’s Open Meetings laws non-voters of Exeter may attend the meeting but must sit in a separately designated section apart from the electors of the Town.
You can read the Charter reference to the Annual Town Meeting (here)
How and When Are Town Council Meetings Conducted? Am I allowed to participate in the meetings?
Exeter Town Council Meetings are held on the first Monday of every month. The meetings are held at the Town Clerk’s office located at 675 Ten Rod Road (Rt. 102), Exeter, R.I. Meetings begin promptly at 7:15 PM. Pursuant to Rhode Island’s Open Meetings Laws anyone may attend. Exeter voters are allowed to participate by making comment on the agenda, and by permission, of other matters.
Attending Town Council Meetings is a great way to stay involved in the decision making process of important matters in your town such as taxes and town services.
The meetings are presided by the Council President, and a quorum of three (3) Council members must be present before any Council business can be conducted. The council take sup matters such as appointments to Town boards and commissions and all other business affecting the Town. The decisions made at these council meetings directly affect your life in Exeter.
All registered Exeter voters are allowed to participate in the council meetings and are allowed to discuss matters on the agenda. Sign up sheets are provided for each voter to sign and be recognized. By the council president and then allowed to speak on the topic. Meetings are conducted with the proper decorum expected of such meetings but are informal enough for you to feel comfortable attending and speaking. Meetings vary in length depending on the agenda but you are not required to stay the entire time.
To learn more about the Exeter Town Council Meetings click (here—link to Charter)
Can you give me some information about the Exeter-West Greenwich School District?
The Exeter-West Greenwich Regional School District is comprised of five schools (EWG Senior High School, EWG Middle School, Metcalf School, Wawaloam School and Lineham School) that provide education to the children of Exeter and West Greenwich. The costs associated with the education of our students is apportioned between Exeter and West Greenwich taxpayers based upon the number of students in each town of any given year. The Exeter West Greenwich School Committee is charged with setting the EWGRSD budget and it’s overall operation. The Committee is presently comprised of 7 members—three (3) from West Greenwich and 4 from Exeter. The Committee is an elected office and is governed by state statutes and the District Charter.
The funds required to operate the EWGRSD are collected by the Town Councils of Exeter and West Greenwich. The Town Councils, however, have no say in how the expenses or appropriations are made or about the budget process. The budget is approved by taxpayers of both communities at an all day referendum held on the 2nd Monday of each April.
To learn more about the Exeter-West Greenwich Regional School District please click (here)
Can You Tell Me a Little About Public Safety In Exeter?
Exeter is one of the few towns in New England that does not have its own police department. The EDTC has been successful in getting the issue of funding a budget that would pay for full-time State Police coverage at the Financial Town Meeting but it has been defeated by the voters of Exeter over the past 6 years. However, the Rhode Island State Police continue to be responsible for any local crimes or issues that require police intervention on an on call basis.
The EDTC continues to support the funding of State Police coverage in Exeter as it is more cost effective than establishing our own police department which would add millions of dollars to our budget.
Exeter, like many small towns in New England, continues to rely on volunteer firefighters to man its fire department and rescue units. The Exeter Fire District, which was created by state law, is charged with the administration of all aspects of the fire and rescue units. By law the EFD may levy it’s own taxes from Exeter residents in order to maintain the fire and rescue services.
These services are provided by Exeter 1 and Exeter 2 fire departments, while the dispatch corporation handles those services. Although they are separate corporations they all work together to protect our community. The fire department is made up of volunteers. The rescue and dispatch personnel are paid employees of the Exeter Fire District.
The Fire District holds its annual meeting yearly in April to approve the budget and your Exeter Fire District tax rate for that year. Your involvement at this meeting is important since it directly affects the amount of taxes that you pay to run the Exeter Fire District.
The fire station houses are located as follows: Station 1—305 Ten Rod Rd.; Station 2 is located at 366 Nooseneck Hill Rd; Station 3 is located at 50 Woody Hill Rd.; and Station 4 is located at 471 South County Trail. Rescue units are located at Exeter Town Hall – 675 Ten Rod Rd. and at the Station 1 firehouse.
For any emergency you should always dial 9-1-1.
How and When Is the Exeter Budget Approved?
The Exeter budget is approved at the Annual Financial Town Meeting. The meeting is described in FAQ #1. Prior to the Financial Town Meeting the Exeter Council members will hold workshops to discuss the proposed budget. All department heads in Exeter are required to submit their budget request no later than March 1 to the town council. The council members are then required to hold a public hearing prior to final adoption of the proposed budget. Exeter residents get to weigh in on the proposed budget at th