When voters went to the polls today they not only voted to fill offices, from local school committee to the president, but also considered numerous bond issues, some potentially adding millions of dollars to the state and local debt, and potentially significantly changing how government operates in some communities.
Traditionally, presidential elections draw out significant voter turnout and long lines at polling stations. This year was no exception as voters throughout Rhode Island not only expressed their presidential preference, but expressed their will on numerous election positions and issues.
Besides office holders, voters decided the following on seven statewide referenda and numerous local issues, from new police stations and elementary schools to significant revisions to town charters.
Question 1 –
Approval of a casino in Tiverton. This needed both statewide and local approval in Tiverton. The proposal will essentially move Newport Grand to Tiverton. It appears the goal is to have the new casino operative sometime in 2017.
Question 2 –
Once again giving the state ethics commission oversight over the state General Assembly. Several years ago by a court ruling the Assembly was separated from oversight, with the remaining parts of state government still under ethics commission regulations.
Question 3 –
Building a new Veterans Home and renovation of existing facilities at the home in Bristol, with a price tag of $27 million. This supplements a 2012 bond issue of $94 million.
Question 4 –
Higher education bonds of $45.5 million. Some $25.5 million would be to renovate and build an addition to Bliss Hall at URI as the second phase of the Engineering School project. Also, $20 million to build one or more innovation campuses, “through a university-business collaboration for cutting-edged research, product, service and business development,” according to Gov. Raimondo’s budget.
Question 5 –
A $70 million bond referendum for infrastructure modernization and repairs at the Port of Davisville at Quonset.
Question 6 –
A $35 million Green Economy bond that provides funds for historic state park development, land acquisition, bikeway development program, Brownfields remediation and economic development, reduction of storm water pollution, and local recreational grants.
Question 7 –
Here are profiles on each question;
- The November Ballot: Question 1 – Tiverton Casino
- The November Ballot: Question 2 – Ethics
- The November Ballot: Question 2 – Ethics, ACLU Opposes Referendum
- The November Ballot: Question 3 – $27 Million Bond for Construction of New Veterans Home and Maintenance to Existing Facility
- The November Ballot: Question 4 – $45.5 million Education Bond
- The November Ballot: Question 5 – $70 Million Bond Port Infrastructure Projects
- The November Ballot: Question 6 – $35 million Green Economy Bonds
- The November Ballot: Question 7 – $50 million bond Affordable Housing