Legislator asks airport to pay full cost of city services

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According to the city administration, police and fire services rendered to Green Airport is costing the city about $1.5 million a year.

Yet, as Rep. Camille F.J. Vella-Wilkinson notes, the airport is paying $500,000 under an agreement reached in 1988. Based on that information, Vella-Wilkinson (D-Dist. 21, Warwick) has introduced legislation that would hike the $500,000 to $1.4 million. The city receives upwards of $1 million in airport parking revenues.

In another measure also relating to the airport, Vella-Wilkinson introduced a resolution for remediation of an old landfill that is part of the airport property.

Despite reasoning that the Rhode Island Airport Corporation should pay more to offset what the city has lost in property taxes with the purchase of homes to expand the airport, Vella-Wilkinson holds little hope that the bill will fly this year. First, the session is winding down and, second, state funds are tight.

Mayor Scott Avedisian said Friday he would like to see RIAC cover the cost of services rendered by the city, but allocating those funds is difficult under airport regulations. He explained the Federal Aviation Administration closely regulates what could be considered a “diversion” of airport funds.

“The airport is only allowed to pay for services rendered,” he said.

Additionally, complicating the issue, the $500,000 is paid by the state though the PILOT, or payment in lieu of taxes, program, even though the money comes from the airport. With the legislative leadership budgeting for car tax relief, a scaled back free tuition program on top of a projected $134 million revenue shortfall, both Vella-Wilkinson and Avedisian don’t see much chance for an increased Warwick payment.

Avedisian pointed out that passage of Vella-Wilkinson’s bill would qualify the city for additional funds, but it doesn’t guarantee it would receive them. Vella-Wilkinson suggests payments to Warwick could be increased incrementally.

Vella-Wilkinson also introduced a resolution (2017-H 5502) that would approve remediation and/or monitoring of the Truk-Away landfill site, a former landfill that was accessed by Industrial Drive and bordered airport property. RIAC acquired the landfill and closed it as it was an attraction for seagulls. Before its closure, the landfill was considered as a source of pollutants to Buckeye Brook. The resolution would appropriate $500,000 for the project and require quarterly reports to made to the city of Warwick.

“The Truk-Away landfill has long been identified as a suspected hazardous waste disposal site,” said Vella-Wilkinson. “It is surrounded by wetlands on three sides. We need the Department of Administration to complete a site investigation to determine the environmental conditions in accordance with state and federal regulations. While the Department of Transportation has maintained a temporary cap, the DOA has not authorized the expenditures to proceed with the process to test and mitigate the impact of the landfill site.”

Vella-Wilkinson was also asked about airport property south of the realigned Main Avenue. Steve Creta, a resident of the area, recollects that RIAC promised to put walking trails in the area. He points out that trees have been cleared and that basically the area has been leveled.

Vella-Wilkinson recollected that former RIAC president and CEO Kevin Dillon talked of having trails in the area as part of the agreement for an extension of Runway 5 from 7,100 to 8,700 feet.

The lack of walking trails and the appearance of the area is not the only issue the legislator has with RIAC. She noted that the agency promised to return a lot of the land it acquired on Airport and Post Roads for potential expansion to the tax rolls now that it isn’t going to be used by the airport. That hasn’t happened, she said.

“The airport is not being good neighbors anymore,” she said.

Comments

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richardcorrente

Way-to-go-Camille Vella-Wilkenson,

As you know, I have been a strong, loud, and constant critic of the airport. I felt that Mayor Avedisian gave away the tax revenue of over a hundred homes and all the citizens of Warwick received was air pollution, water pollution, noise pollution and soil pollution. I vowed to renegotiate the airport agreement. My critics screamed how it was "a done deal" and how it "can't be renegotiated". and that I was "crazy" to even mention it.

Fortunately, Camille is a whole lot smarter than they are because she figured out how to do just that.

WAY-TO-GO-CAMILLE VELLA-WILKENSON!!!

On behalf of the 80,000 Warwick citizens that will benefit from your legislation, thank you!

On behalf of the 80,000 Warwick taxpayers that will be paying a "smaller" tab due to your legislation, thank you!

Happy Summer Camille and husband Ken.

Happy Summer everyone.

Rick Corrente

The Taxpayers Mayor

Thursday, June 22
CrickeeRaven

Once again, the failed losing fake "mayor" shows a breathtaking lack of understanding about the basic functions of government. Specifically, he offers pandering partisan statements about bills proposed by a local representative [which are quite laudable] but not yet passed by the General Assembly or signed by the governor. In fact, neither of these bills even passed out of committee.

Here are the facts about these bills, as of June 22 at 5 p.m.:

- House bill 6160, requiring additional payment from the RI Airport Corporation:

05/16/2017 Committee recommended measure be held for further study

- House bill 5502, related to Truk-Away landfill:

06/08/2017 Committee recommended measure be held for further study

What the failed losing fake "mayor" has done, in fact, is exaggerated the credit due a state legislator who did the very minimum, i.e., submitting bills, and shown that he is still capable of a shameless attempt to gain political points [or something; beyond wanting to see his own name again and again on this site's comment boards, it is debatable that he has an actual legitimate goal to his behavior]. He has also used the news about this legislator to rehash campaign statements that were part of his overwhelming loss in the mayoral race in 2016.

Until he shows some basic understanding of how legislation is actually passed into law, and corrects his erroneous statements, everything else said by the failed losing fake "mayor" should be disregarded.

Thursday, June 22
CrickeeRaven

As a footnote to my prior comment, anyone [including the fake "mayor"] can access up-to-date information on legislation before the General Assembly by visiting the following site: http://status.rilin.state.ri.us/

Simply identify the bill by number, title, category, or sponsor to see the actual status of each bill.

Until the fake "mayor" proves that he can do the most basic research before posting his uninformed and false statements, everything else he says should be disregarded.

Thursday, June 22
richardcorrente

Dear CrickeeRaven,

Again, you call me a "failed losing fake mayor" and yet my message of "cut taxes - cut spending" has resulted in all 9 city council-people voting to stop tax increases FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 18 YEARS!! Even the mayor refused to veto my movement calling himself "a political realest".

Your right.

I didn't win the election, but my message got through, in spite of all your political trashing. I took all the lies you threw at me and still got my message across. You, on the other hand, don't even have the courage to tell the readers what your real name is.

The readers will decide who is the real "fake" in all this.

In the meantime...

WAY TO GO CAMILLE VELLA-WILKENSON!!!

Happy Forth-of-July CrickeeRaven (maybe you will celebrate independence day by using your real name)

Happy Forth-of-July everyone.

Rick Corrente

The Taxpayers Mayor

Sunday, June 25
CrickeeRaven

Clearly the losing failure fake"mayor" has proven his unwillingness to do basic research. As a result, nothing he says should be considered valid.

Monday, June 26