Administrator’s salary increases $15,000 in proposal; tax rate up

Administrator’s salary increases $15,000 in proposal; tax rate up

NORTH SMITHFIELD – The Town Council on Monday approved a $15,000 annual salary increase for the town’s top position, one of several expenditures included in a $46.7 million budget proposal to be considered next month.

Town Administrator Gary Ezovski’s budget proposal will result in a 3.68 percent increase in the overall tax levy for fiscal year 2021. If approved by the council, residential taxpayers can expect a new rate of $16.29 per thousand dollars of assessed value, a 2.6 percent increase over the current rate. Commercial taxpayers can expect a new rate of $19.38, a 2.7 percent increase over the current rate, and the tangible property tax rate would increase to $43.54, a 2.4 percent increase over the current rate.

Ezovski, who has publicly stated he does not plan to run for another term, proposed the increase from $75,000 to $90,000 as part of this year’s budget process. The change would take effect on Dec. 2, with an extra $8,750 budgeted for the fiscal year that begins in July. Though the budget as a whole will not be formally presented to the council until June 1, councilors took up the salary increase early to make their thoughts known before candidates declare their intent to run for office next month.

The increase, which also has the support of the Budget Committee, has been pitched as a way to attract more competitive candidates to the office. Councilors on Monday also pointed out it would make the administrator’s salary comparable to those of other department heads.

“I compared all of our administrative positions that we have – the planner, the finance director and what not – and it would put it more in line with that one,” said Council President Paul Vadenais.

According to the latest numbers available from the Division of Municipal Finance, North Smithfield is tied with Johnston for the third-lowest paid executive officer in the state, falling only behind Central Falls and West Greenwich.

The vote sparked some confusion among council members who questioned whether participating could create a conflict of interest if they run for the office this fall. Though no council members have yet publicly declared their candidacy, Councilor Douglas Osier Jr. said he was still “weighing his options” and opted to recuse himself from the vote.

Councilor Paul Zwolenski then put the question to Town Solicitor David Igliozzi – asking if Zwolenski should also recuse himself – who responded councilors could vote on the matter as long as they made a decision prior to the public declaration period for candidacy.

The increase passed on a 4-0 vote.

According to draft budget documents, the $46.7 million proposal includes several increases over the current fiscal year, budgeting an additional $150,000 for road paving and an additional $294,000 for the Police Department to support a newly approved contract. The council on Monday also approved a contract with the North Smithfield Fire and Rescue Service that will result in an increase of 3 percent, or about $93,000, in the next fiscal year.

On Monday, councilors heard a report from Michael DiBiase, president of the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council, who told them tangible and commercial property taxes make up a larger portion of the overall levy in North Smithfield than in the state as a whole. The study was commissioned after last year’s budget discussion, when the split between commercial and residential property tax rates became a heated point of debate.

Town officials this week also expressed uncertainty over the school budget. The current budget proposal includes a $446,000 increase in the town’s contribution along with a projected $290,000 increase in state aid. However, with the state now facing a projected $800 million deficit due to COVID-19, some have questioned whether those numbers could change dramatically over the next two months.

Comments

After reading about the increase in the Town Administrator's salary next year, all I can say is that the Town Council and the people of this Town better smarten up and NOT approve the increase.

After doing some checking ... how can he (the current TA) justify this for simply governing a small municipality when the governor of Maine, Janet Mills, a Democrat, who took office January 2, 2019 receives a salary of $70,000.

I also believe that MAINE is a state ... and has a lot more people than the town of NORTH SMITHFIELD has!

For what the Town Administrator does for this town, he is over paid and if you go out and give him a raise of $15,000.00 a year, you all need to have your heads examine.

A disgruntled resident & tax payer ...

sinned

Maine could nearly double governor’s salary from $70K to $135K.
https://whdh.com/news/maine-could-nearly-double-governors-salary-from-70...

Watch and see ... the people and the legislature will NEVER approve the increase!

Little that people know, the current Governor does not support the increase! This is just a rumor ... and still has to be voted on by the people ... and let's face it, with all the people that is out of work ... I doubt it very much if they will vote in favor of this outrageous increase in salary!