Solomon hopeful of means other than fees to address beach litter

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Ward 6 Councilwoman Donna Travis, who spearheaded efforts to restore fees at the city’s three beaches, is disappointed with Acting Mayor Joseph Solomon’s action to suspend the fees for the upcoming season. Travis believes the fees, especially a fee at Oakland Beach, would discourage people from littering the premises and is only fair as fees are charged at other beaches.

“Why should we be the only free beach?” she asked Monday.

But Solomon questions whether fees will discourage littering and, since his announcement Thursday, said he has received calls and comments from several people who are pleased the fees won’t be implemented.

“Our beaches are some of Warwick’s best recreational and environmental assets,” Solomon said in a press release. “My ultimate goal is to ensure that our beaches are clean for the enjoyment of our residents and out-of-town guests and to keep litter from polluting the bay, without putting a possibly undue financial burden on beachgoers. Putting this program on hold will enable us to get a better grasp of any causal factors related to the litter that’s being generated and address the problem in a fiscally-responsible, effective and multi-faceted way.”

On Monday, Solomon reiterated that former Mayor Scott Avedisian neither accounted for the expense of implementing fees or their projected revenues in his proposed budget and therefore suspending the program would not have a financial impact. As for the issue of litter, he said he is looking for voluntary litter patrols as well as individuals and businesses to help pitch in. Asked about enforcement of anti-littering laws, Solomon said he is inclined to address the problem through volunteer cleanup efforts and increased awareness. Issuing fines he sees as a last resort.

Travis said she has witnessed people drop containers after buying takeout within steps of a trash barrel.

“You wouldn’t do this if it’s your house,” she said. She would favor stricter enforcement of anti-littering laws. “What’s the point of having a law if it’s not enforced,” she said.

City Planner and Chief of Staff William DePasquale thought a fee could even have an adverse effect in that having paid, people would feel empowered to drop their trash. He feels a change of behavior is needed to address the problem.

DePasquale also observed that unlike most state beaches where there is a parking fee, the Oakland Beach lot is frequented by visitors who enjoy sitting in their cars and viewing the bay.

Asked about the possible adverse effects of a fee on Tuesday Cruise nights at Oakland Beach, Travis said that had been taken into consideration and participants would have received passes.

“These are not the ones who leave garbage. They’re good,” she said.

It was not clear how the fees would have affected attendance.

The release indicates that, in lieu of the fee program, the city will be looking at “restructuring of certain departmental functions and an analysis of how to streamline some municipal services is underway,” which “could likely free up additional resources for this purpose than have traditionally been allocated.”

The beach fees program was originally proposed last August by Travis and was finalized and approved by a unanimous vote of the Warwick City Council in December. It would have imposed fees at $20 per car for a season pass for Warwick residents and $40 per car for non-residents, with senior discounts halving those amounts. Single visit fees would have been $5 for Warwick residents and $10 for nonresidents, again with senior discounts available.

(With reports from Ethan Hartley)

Comments

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davebarry109

This is a huge mistake. We are furious. These beaches are trashed daily, mostly by folks from outside of Warwick. They even leave dirty diapers on the sand. Just gross. Charging a fee would keep many of these outsiders away.

Tuesday, May 22
JohnStark

Solomon did the right thing. Fees do not change behavior. Fines might, but how do you enforce the fine? Being a pig is a mindset. I pick up trash at Conimicut Point all the time, but don't understand how a fee OR fine will alter the behavior of leaving one's soiled diapers on the beach. That's just a mentality of someone who has grown accustomed to having others pick up after them.

Tuesday, May 22
richardcorrente

Acting Mayor Joe Solomon doesn't want to charge beachgoers a fee that he voted in the City Council to charge in December 2017. In fact, it was a unanimous vote. Nothing has changed since December 2017. Now he has changed his mind and says he wants to keep the beach clean "without putting an undue financial burden on the beachgoers." Well, Joe, it's the beachgoers or the taxpayers. Someone has to pay to keep the beach clean.

I say have the beachgoers pay for the cleaning. What do you say Joe?

Happy Summer everyone.

Rick Corrente

The Taxpayers Mayor

Tuesday, May 22
CrickeeRaven

"[I]t's the beachgoers or the taxpayers," writes the make-believe mayor who, despite claiming to be against taxes, advocates raising parking fees on people who use Warwick's public beaches. As another commenter rightly pointed out on a previous article, this is effectively a tax on anyone who owns a car in Warwick.

In his pathetic attempt to show that acting Mayor Solomon somehow flip-flopped on his prior vote to impose fees, the make-believe mayor is arguing for raising taxes, in the form of parking fees, and again proving himself incapable of serving the taxpayers he claims to represent.

The make-believe mayor also has no right to demand answers when he, himself, has refused to answer basic questions about his own campaign behavior, including having his property taxes paid in 2013 and 2014 by his current office landlord.

Honest, taxpaying voters will reject the make-believe mayor at the earliest opportunity.

Tuesday, May 22
Justanidiot

hows about wes get master taxpaying mayer to go out and pick up the trashes.

Tuesday, May 22
richardcorrente

CrickeeRaven is wrong...again.

If our beaches are cleaner they will attract more visitors. More visitors converts to more new homebuyers which means more taxpayers which means more TOTAL TAX REVENUE. Which means less taxes for the rest of us. The beach fees will be a first step toward Warwicks' ability to "Cut Taxes - Cut Spending".

As far as Justanidiot saying that I should pick up some of the trash, I did! As a proud member of the Friends of Warwick Ponds I participated in collecting over 20 large trash bags full of litter. When we were done, Oakland Beach was CLEAN.

That was about a month ago. If CrickeeRaven, Justanidiot or anyone else wants to do it with me just call me at 401-338-9900 and pick a day. I'll be there.

Happy beach-going everyone.

Rick Corrente

The Taxpayers Mayor

Tuesday, May 22
CrickeeRaven

"The beach fees will be a first step toward Warwicks' [correct spelling is Warwick's] ability to 'Cut Taxes - Cut Spending.'"

No matter how many times the make-believe mayor tries to fool people, he will not succeed. Parking fees are effectively taxes because they are an additional financial burden on taxpayers.

He is also finally indicating that his failed 2016 campaign did not result in any tax or spending cuts -- by saying the parking fees would be "a first step," he is admitting that no steps have been taken to reduce taxes or spending.

This is contrary to the many, many times that he has claimed on this website that his failed campaign influenced the city council to cut taxes and spending in the FY18 budget.

So, the make-believe mayor has succeeded only in proving himself a liar again.

Tuesday, May 22
Scal1024

This is where you are wrong Rick. Your magic solution to pay for everything is "new home buyers". That isn't going to happen in 1, 2, or even 3 or 4-5 years. Effectively you will blow a hole in the budget by handing out checks to new home buyers, as well as paying 50% of seniors and veterans car taxes. What line item will you cut in the budget to pay for things starting DAY ONE?

Its funny to me that a candidate for mayor believes saying "cut taxes cut spending" is a plan. Its not!

Also, its short sighted Rick believes that he'll cut taxes and people will flood the city, while he also thinks he will RAISE BEACH FEES (taxes) and yet this will attract MORE beach goers. Do you see the inconsistency? The man who's whole campaign is based on "cut taxes cut spending" is saying he wants to RAISE BEACH FEES on EVERY DRIVING RESIDENT. He wants to give checks to new home buyers but he just can't tell anyone how he'll pay for it. He wants to pay 50% of seniors car taxes, except he can't tell you how many seniors live in Warwick, or roughly how many of them drive. Or how many more seniors will Warwick acquire over the next 10 years. Rick Corrente is short sighted and reckless. He can't pay his own taxes on time, but he has no problem raising yours. What an embarrassment!

Tuesday, May 22
CrickeeRaven

Scal, I nominate this as the quote of the 2018 campaign: "He can't pay his own taxes on time, but he has no problem raising yours."

Perfectly succinct -- plus it has the added benefit of being completely true.

Tuesday, May 22
WwkVoter

I'm actually in favor of beach fees, higher for non-Warwick residents. Why? because I cant use the beach the way it is with the type of people who trash the place and really make it feel anything but relaxing. I'm not alone with that.

Wednesday, May 23
Scal1024

WwkVoter, I don't disagree with the overall idea of your point. However, I believe residents should be exempt from paying this tax initially to see if the funds are there by charging non residents first. I would make it $10 for non residents only. This will begin to put more money into the fund to clean the beaches. The beaches are already being cleaned, we need to devote more resources towards them. There are already city employees cleaning the beaches, lets increase the amount of workers, taking other parks and recs employees and having them assist in those runs. There are also teens cleaning the beaches in the summer, I would increase the number of part time employees cleaning our beaches. The more eyes and manpower on the beach, the better. We're also starting a fund with the $10 fee from non residents .

This differs from Richard Correntes plan which is to RAISE FEES on EVERY DRIVING RESIDENT in the city of Warwick. This is regressive toward residents who already pay taxes on their car, and will now be asked to pay MORE in beach fees. I applaud Joe Solomon for atleast listening to voters and delaying the fees. There has to be a better, less regressive way to collect fees. Richard Corrente doesn't seem to think so.

Wednesday, May 23
CrickeeRaven

Scal, I think you offer a reasonable compromise to the issue of parking fees at our local beaches. Asking non-residents to, in effect, subsidize their use of Warwick's facilities is fair, and using the revenue to increase the existing work that is done to keep the beaches clean is good policy. Narragansett takes a similar approach, and their town beach remains among the best in the state.

While I'm not sure that non-residents are any more responsible for leaving litter behind than residents, the fact remains that Warwick's beaches are already properly maintained, and any way that can be further improved without increasing the burden on local taxpayers should be considered.

The city council might also consider following the state's lead and require visitors to take their trash with them when they leave the beach. Having visited state beaches before and after this policy went into effect, it's clear that the amount of trash has been significantly reduced.

You also rightly point out that acting Mayor Solomon is taking a much more taxpayer-friendly approach to this issue than the make-believe mayor, who clearly believes he can fool voters into thinking that a parking fee is not, in effect, another tax.

Wednesday, May 23
WwkVoter

I believe that out certain of town clientele are an issue. Anyway, that is an awesome picture in the story and by the way 75 cents in 1965 (estimated time of picture) is $6 today, based on the online "CPI Inflation Calculator".

Wednesday, May 23
Scal1024

CrickeeRaven, thanks for the honest feedback. I like the idea of telling residents to take their trash with them. I like the idea of handing residents a numbered trash bag, while taking down their license plate # and matching it to a trash bag #. The penalty should be assesing a fine if that trash and trash bag is not taken out by those residents (I believe this is the policy you are referring to? Correct me if I'm wrong). This idea combined with charging non residents a $10 parking fee is a no brainer in my opinion. The trash bag/fine part of the policy also targets polluters which is a part of this policy that needs to be included. This is a smart, fair proposal that takes the burden off residents who already pay property taxes and car taxes. It also gets money into our city from non residents who use the beach and currently pay $0 towards its cleanup.

These are simple proposals that don't punish local taxpayers or harm local businesses. Currently Rick Corrente is arguing in favor of beach fees. This regressive fee or tax as its also known will harm EVERY DRIVING RESIDENT. The cut taxes, cut spending" fake mayoral candidate is already trying to RAISE FEES. Just imagine what he'll do when he gets his hands on the budget. To be fair, Rick Corrente the "mortgage guy" didn't tell voters the truth that he lost his home to foreclosure, or that he was evicted. I wouldn't expect him to tell voters he's going to have to RAISE TAXES to pay for all his new programs and giveaways. He will attack me because this dishonest candidate can't tell you what these new programs will cost. Thousands of voters will reject this fraud this election season, I look forward to it. Who will he blame then?

Wednesday, May 23
CrickeeRaven

Hi Scal:

I'm honestly not aware that the state matches bags with license plates and imposes fines -- though I don't recall ever having my plate number recorded, and I know that not every driver takes a bag from the entrance booth.

In any case, I agree that some kind of system that reduces trash on our beaches [understanding that we may never reach 100% compliance], and does not unduly impact Warwick residents for the open space that we already pay to protect and maintain, is ultimately the way to go.

As you note, that kind of solution is simple, it's easy to implement, and it just makes a lot of sense -- none of which describe the make-believe mayor's delusional statements.

Wednesday, May 23