2014-12-31 / Around Town

Sylvia Outlines Term Goals

By James Merolla

Middletown Town Council President Robert J. Sylvia is entering 2015 with a set of clearly defined goals gleaned from past experience which he hopes will carry the community forward over the next several years and beyond.

Sylvia first outlined his goals in a speech in late November when he was sworn in as the new council leader.

Citing how Town Administrator Shawn Brown and a veteran council helped taxpayers save millions since the economic collapse of 2008, Sylvia praised various costcutting measures over the past six years, including the consolidation of departments. “We have successfully trimmed expenses while maintaining the same quality of service that the citizens of Middletown have been accustomed to,” he said. “Our town employees have contributed every year during employee contract negotiations. They come to the table with an understanding of fairness. They, too, should be recognized and commended for their efforts.”

Going into the new year, Sylvia said the town will capitalize on new opportunities. “We will see the many projects that are in the pipeline finished and confront the issues that lie ahead,” he said.

He then specifically outlined his immediate goals:

. To review and adopt the Comprehensive Land Use Plan. “We will develop and adopt the zoning changes that are necessary to implement the plan,” Sylvia added.

. To redevelop the West Main Road corridor from the former Navy Lodge parcel to the former John F. Kennedy Elementary School, more than 18 acres.

. Oversee the development of the Shoreline Park property. “This 25-plus acres of scenic waterfront property along Narragansett Bay west of Burma Road will open up a park to be enjoyed by all residents,” he said.

. To participate in and contribute to the establishment of a regional economic development entity to support East Bay communities.

. To work with the Rhode Island Department of Transportation to reconstruct the Two-Mile Corner and Coddington Highway intersections.

. To continue to identify town responsibilities related to stormwater management. “We will also identify the appropriate mechanism to fund the program,” said Sylvia.

. To continue to work with the School Committee and school administration to identify an educational facilities plan that supports modern teaching and is affordable to all residents.

. To evaluate the potential for expanding the public water supply to the east side of town due to the recently discovered levels of nitrates in private wells.

“These are just a few of the exciting challenges that we have ahead of us,” Sylvia said. “All of these will be done with full transparency, utilizing open public meetings to solicit total and absolute input from every resident and taxpayer, this I promise you. As I serve in the New Year, I will do so with enthusiasm, compassion and devotion to our community.”

The council president encouraged the public to attend the next open meeting on Saturday, Jan. 10, to provide input and glean understanding of Middletown’s Comprehensive Plan as it is finalized.

“I urge all citizens to attend. It is extremely important,” said Sylvia. The next regular Town Council meeting is set for Tuesday, Jan. 20, at 6 p.m. at Town Hall.

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