Why is Portsmouth Self-destructing?

A Portsmouth resident and taxpayer criticizes the Town Council's recent decision to eliminate the director of business development position.

As a resident of Portsmouth and a taxpayer, I think that the Town Council has made a major error in not funding the Director of Business Development position for next year. 

By removing this $27,000 item from the budget, the council may think that it has saved the town some money, but at what cost? Despite the misinformed bluster of the PCC voting block on our Town Council, business development increases the commercial tax base which helps to keep our residential taxes low.  

Doing away with this development position sends the message that Portsmouth does not care about or need economic growth. In today's highly competitive business climate, this is not the right message to send. The Director of Business Development job is definitely not a "feel good" position, but represents just about the minimum that Portsmouth can do to be considered friendly to businesses. The funding amount for this position is almost miniscule compared to the representation and broad range of activities that the current director has been engaged in, all with the benefit of Portsmouth in mind.

After hearing about this action by our Town Council, an official from a nearby town was overheard to ask a friend: "Why is Portsmouth self-destructing?" I have no answer to this except to point to the four members of the Town Council members who must be held responsible for it. And I don't think we can afford to wait until the next election.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Werner Loell May 23, 2011 at 11:51 PM
How do I feel? Not too pleased. The Portsmouth Business Community wants more development and further economic growth. Do we know how many tax payers and local residents are supportive of this constant frenzy for economic growth (the defeat of Target comes to mind). The “self-destruction” Mr. Doug Smith is referencing could not be more incorrect and seemingly oversimplified. More development is what destroys orchards, arable lands, biodiversity, clean air and water, quality of life, aquatic life, and our bucolic environment that sustains our community.
Ray Berberick May 24, 2011 at 05:18 PM
Mr. Loell: I invite you to come to the next RGSC meeting on June 15th at 5 pm in Portsmouth Room at the Town Hall. The RGSC/PEDC is not advocating massive expansion. We are aware of the concerns of the town residents about "Preserving Portsmouth" and "big boxes." What we are advocating is "smart growth" which is developing existing land that is already zoned for business as well as looking into what opportunities can be done to raise revenue using town property and looking for other creative ways to raise revenue. The PEDC annual briefing slides on the PEDC website shows the "looming budget gap." Many people in town are involved in analyzing the budget and reducing spending. However, there are two sides to the balance sheet. We are looking at the revenue side as well. We welcome the help and ideas of any resident to look for ingenious and lucrative ideas to help bring new revenue and maintaining the positive aspects of Portsmouth that we all enjoy.
Scott Boyd May 24, 2011 at 10:36 PM
Re my comment above and Doug's reply. Doug, my point is why should a business contribute more in taxes than their cost to the Town? Why does everyone think it's a great idea to make up what the residences cost in excess of their contribution by shifting it to the business tax base? You want to see business growth in Town, work on the residences living within their means (raise taxes or cut services until they balance) tax the businesses what they incur, which your facts show is considerably less than they get taxed now, guess what Portsmouth becomes a very business friendly place.
Bill Carson May 26, 2011 at 12:33 PM
When anyone wants to purchase a home in the Rhode Island area the first thing they look at is the tax rate! It's not the cute little formulas about percentages and averages,it's about how much does it cost to pay the town and what do you get . If I want to pay $500,000 for a house how much does it cost to live in that town ? The real estate companies tell you up front what the yearly expense is ! The home buyer looks at the tax bill and what the mortage will cost and makes the decision ! Portsmouth has between 275 and 300 homes for sale all the time - Not a good figure ! This is called self destruction - Give the town a dollar tax and they spend a dollar twenty-five !
Mina June 26, 2012 at 07:50 PM
If business " destroys orchards, arable lands, biodiversity, clean air and water, quality of life, aquatic life" Middletown is in better shape. Business brings revenue to the town, as far as I know. Anyway, what is the town has to offer in terms of opening a food business, even if its a very small business, if I have to spend between 25,000 to 50,000 more than if I open a business in Middletown or Newport?


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