Some important projects on the way
2020 is looking like it will be a year of opportunities and challenges for the Block Island community. Perhaps the biggest challenges will come in the form of budgets; not just the annual vote on the municipal budget, but several other financial issues, related to the function of the entire town, that will collectively have an impact on how taxpayer money is spent.
One project is the island-wide internet broadband project. This has been a considerable effort, and while the cost is not yet known, it will certainly be a major point of discussion at the Financial Town Meeting in May.
The other big project is the High Street/Payne Road water main project that will cost, in its entirety, about $2.3 million. The Water Company is hoping to get some federal relief on that project, and the rest will be put to the voters at a Special Financial Town Meeting sometime in the spring. That water main feeds the downtown area, and voters should be supportive of that.
There are still other known unknowns. The School Committee has been projecting a minor deficit for the end of its fiscal year budget, the Medical Center will again be expecting public support for its operations, and the members of the Senior Advisory Committee are looking to expand their scope of services and, along with it, a bigger budget request from the town.
Stories about money may not be sexy, but they are never boring. We will be tracking these issues as best we can, and we hope voters will, too. These considerations and others will impact the town for years to come.