Hey Taxpayers ... Wake Up!

Hey Taxpayers! Time to Wake Up!

I’ve been watching and reading all of the banter with regard to the decision of the City Council to stick a supplemental tax increase on us. Well folks, they did it again — and we’re doing NOTHING to stop it. 

I appreciate Patch’s opening up their articles for discussion, but quite frankly, all I see is a venue for people to vent and argue about what has happened and what we all should do. The operative word there is “should.” 

Folks, we’re all voicing our opinions about what we’d like to see happen, who to blame, how to fix it and so on and so on.  But no one is coming up with a direction that we could all take and maybe actually CHANGE our direction for the future.

Let’s take a moment and look at what we all have here in front of us. We have people elected to offices that — from what I can see — have been elected by “the seniors in the high rises.”  OK, how did that happen? It happened because the rest of us let that happened because, collectively, we didn’t care.  It’s called apathy.  “My vote won’t matter.” 

Well, hello... YES IT DOES! 

How can you allow a candidate like Marc Dubois to be elected to the City Council? This man almost single handedly brought down the City of Woonsocket!  And we allowed his cohorts to be re-elected to the school committee as well! Have any of you ever listened to our current School Committee Chairperson speak?  If that is the product of our school system, we are all in trouble!  “Somethin’… Speakin’… Talkin’… Goin’…”  I could go on and on.

Look, rather than waste all of our collective time complaining about the way things are, how about we all come together and do something about it? I see people like Sharon Cross and Memere and so many others posting on Patch. We’re all residents, taxpayers, and in the case of the two I just mentioned, voters. We care; we’re concerned; and we want change.  Why don’t we focus on making
those critical changes happen? Folks, we CAN make those changes happen!

Bickering and finger-pointing on a public forum does nothing but insight anger in everyone. We end up taking our frustrations out on the next guy that makes a post. Why don’t we collectively focus our efforts on fixing some of the many problems that are facing us?

Let’s start here. What if we enacted a recall for those officials (mayor, City Council, School Committee) that we feel have been malfeasant in their duties, whether in their current terms or in past terms in office. Why should these people be allowed to continue to misrepresent us — their constituents?  Remove them from office!

We are all saying “cut out the cancer and stop the bleeding.” They choose to dig deeper into the pockets of those that can least afford it. Folks, what are we waiting for?

Tell me why 25 percent of the population should have to foot the bill for the other 75 pecent.  I have never been in the school system in this city. I have no children in the school system. I have relatives who have never had children in the school system, yet we have all supported the Woonsocket School System. I ask you: What about those who enjoy all the benefits at our expense? I tire of the statement “It’s all about the children!”  Tell you what.  If it’s your kid, you should pay too. Don’t sit there and tell me I should “invest” in our children’s future. Folks, it’s time to stand up and say NO MORE!

The time is now to make the officials who were elected accountable for the callous disregard of the well-being of you and me — the residents; the taxpayers; the people of this once fine city. Band together, stand up and JUST SAY NO!

One of our newest council members based his campaign on the phrase, “Push Back.” I must ask Mr. Brien: When do you propose to start to push back? We consistently are forced to swallow state mandates without funding. “You have to do this and we’re not going to help you pay for it.”  Tell me ladies and entlemen… If someone knocked on your door and said, “You need to plant 10 trees, paint your house blue, and make your living room available to all the subsidized housing residents that want to come and watch TV in your living room,” what would you say? 

I can hear all of your responses now. Simply, it would never happen.  ]So I have to ask: Why do we let it happen in Woonsocket?

Let’s come together, people. We need to take over and drive the bus. Post here with POSITIVE suggestions about how we can effect change here. I’m on board if you are. Let’s make it happen!

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.

DonQ April 06, 2012 at 03:19 PM
Jeff, Thank you for starting this blog. Your message is written very well. I am hopeful that this blog will bring folks together so that we can come up with ideas and solutions to make this city better for all of us. Chris12 Apparently you haven't noticed that first, the school committee just recently said "oops, you know that surplus we told everyone that we had, well there was a very slight error made. Actually what we have is a $10million dollar deficit , and you the taxpayers now need to pay for our screw ups.". Plus the fact, that no matter how many times citizens have spoken up at school committee and city council meetings, our elected officials have chosen to blatantly ignore the citizens who pay their salaries.
John Charpentier Jr April 06, 2012 at 05:27 PM
The parents have already been helping to offset the expenses! Teachers send home lists of supplies they need to teach, we participate in the fund raisers, donating our time and money, and we do hundreds of hours of unpaid service in the school. I know that several PTA/PTO organizations allocate thousands of dollars every year to supply classrooms with the basic supplies that the city and state no longer pay for. If all the parents stopped helping offset the expenses, you would see the school deficit jump way up from $10 million.
John April 06, 2012 at 07:06 PM
I agree with you la_mouffette. You shouldn't lump all committee members or all council members together just because of a few that make bad decisions. Anita McGuire-Forcier at least has the nerve to stand up for what she thinks is right. Unlike others on the School Committe who only vote or speak about what is popular preparing for the next election.
John April 06, 2012 at 07:19 PM
All of this starts with our state reps. They do nothing to advocate for us. We need to contact them, Brien, Baldell-Hunt & Phillips, through e-mail, phone and in person. We need to let them know we will not tolerate another year of funding cuts and increased mandates to our school system. I know everyone likes to point fingers but if you payed attention you'd know that a school system the size of Woonsocket's cannot run on 59 million dollars. The City Council and Tom Bruce knew this when they forced the School Committee to submit this "balanced budget" by state law. Everyone on that Council knew this was coming. Dan Gendron stated "Even a blind man could see there was going to be a deficit with this budget", but yet everyone on the city council approved it and signed off on it. The city cannot have a surplus if the school is in a deficit, politics aside we are all one city. Do you think for one minute the City Council would give the School Department what they actually need and risk coming in over budget on the City Side? Never going to happen, the City Council takes what they need and gives the School Committee whats left....and it's usually not enough to run a school department of this size.
DonQ April 06, 2012 at 07:36 PM
For those interested in contacting our reps, here is their contact information:   Rep. Lisa Baldelli-Hunt   rep-baldellihunt@rilin.state.ri.us   (401) 766-1679   Rep. Jon D. Brien   rep-brien@rilin.state.ri.us   (401) 766-9887   Rep. Robert D. Phillips   rep-phillips@rilin.state.ri.us   (401) 762-2010   Senator Roger A. Picard    sen-picard@rilin.state.ri.us   (401) 769-4902
Memere April 06, 2012 at 10:00 PM
I agree. Remember when it was safe to walk through the city and when no one locked doors because you felt perfectly safe? Our children were safe at the park and walking to school. Now, you not only have to lock your door but you need security lights and an alarm system too. You do not want to walk the city streets alone and your children need to stay in their own yards with supervision. But that is no longer the way life is in this city. And forget hoping that French Canadians will move here from Canada. Why would they when life is so much better there. They would be very foolish to move here now. It's OK to remember the good old days and they truly were good but that time is over. Now we need to try to improve our present and our future.
la_mouffette April 07, 2012 at 05:38 AM
It delights me to hear talk about City Hall not being able to hold enough citizens for meetings. Until recently, that hasn't been a problem. I'm so glad it seems crowded these days! =D Now if we can just keep up these crowds and this level of interest until Election Day...
Growing more concerned by the day! April 07, 2012 at 12:20 PM
The real solution is to get the politicians out of the way...why bother emailing, calling or talking to them. Why do some think they have a solution to the problem they help create for the people that helped put them in that position. Enough is enough. A bankruptcy judge will appoint a person with no political or personal ties to the city. This person will be able to make financial decisions that are hard, but right thing to help put the city on a positive path forward. When that process begins, you will see many of the current politicians run to hide and the true politicians who know how to govern stay around. You will then have the opportunity to elect best officials possible going forward and they will have a better chance to succeed. The current situation does not allow this to happen. Now is the time to consider the type of people you want to govern your city...financial and social conservatives or liberal,socialist progressives... you need to decide.
Meesh April 07, 2012 at 06:33 PM
Here's some more food for thought. The city had a reevaluation on properties last year for the upcoming tax year (July's bill.) Every homeowner in the city will be receiving a letter in May with their new home values. You think everyone's angry now.....just wait.
Tommy Tutone April 09, 2012 at 03:15 PM
I was thinking of witholding the supplemental,this idea is even better.Getting everyone to do it would be next to impossible though.They've got everybody believing that they're part of a team (the City).It's every man for himself unless people unite somehow.Personally,i'm starting to come to grips with having to leave.
Albert Mooney April 09, 2012 at 03:20 PM
Jeff, I am willing to take your challange by posting ideas on Woonsocket Patch. The proposed cuts as well as some of the revenue ideas which I will propose are not meant to target any group of people or organizations. I am just trying to propose ideas which will improve the City of Woonsocket. I am a Villa Novan!
Novan for Life April 09, 2012 at 03:47 PM
Albert Mooney April 09, 2012 at 05:09 PM
I would like to see the city offer individuals, businesses and/or non profit organizations the opportunity for naming rights and sponsorships for some of the projects and activities the city and school department has funded in the past. Philanthropists such as Alan Shawn Feinstein have been funding school education and hunger projects in the past and possibly Alan Shawn Feinstein or the Feinstein Foundation would be willing to fund the breakfast and lunch programs at one of our schools for naming rights. If Mr Feinstein or another philanthropist would be willing to fund the food programs at one of our schools I would like to see the city consider renaming one of our schools to honor this commitment.
English first April 09, 2012 at 05:24 PM
I think Mr Feinstein matches fundraising efforts. I am not sure he just pays for the taxpayers children. He encourages everyone to do good deeds for the less fortunate among us and then he matches their effort. I am not an expert on this. Just thinking.
Albert Mooney April 09, 2012 at 06:01 PM
I would like to see Mr Ward or any other city councilor propose the following or similar type legislation. Woonsocket employee cost savings incentive program - whereby if a suggestion for cost savings is made by an employee of the City of Woonsocket or an employee of the Education department and that suggestion is adopted and leads to a savings of $100,000 or more to the City of Woonsocket that employee receives one day off with full pay. If the savings is $200,000 or more they receive 2 days off with full pay. $300,000 or more 3 days off with full pay and so on.
Meesh April 09, 2012 at 08:45 PM
How about if we allow advertising inside of the school buildings? We have advertisements everywhere else so why not in schools? It would certainly bring in some revenue.
John Ward April 09, 2012 at 08:51 PM
Almost the same thing is on the books. From the Personnel code (Full ordinance is 25A1 to 25A9): SECTION 25.A. PRODUCTIVITY ACHIEVEMENT PROGRAM 25.A.1. [Eligible participants.] All employees of the City of Woonsocket not hereinafter excepted from the provisions of this section shall, by virtue of their employment, be entitled to participate in a productivity achievement program. The purpose of this program is to stimulate governmental efficiency by financially rewarding employees whose efforts and ideas directly result in the delivery of governmental services at a decreased cost; or the increase in receipt of revenues; or the ability to purchase necessary items at a demonstrably lower price. 25.A.5. [Finance director to verify cost savings; award.] Upon the implementation of a cost savings suggestion, the director of finance shall, for a period of one (1) year from implementation, analyze the savings on a monthly basis, and shall allocate ten (10) percent of the demonstrable monthly savings into a segregated account. Upon the first anniversary of the implementation of the suggestion, the employee shall receive a sum equal to ten (10) percent of the demonstrable savings directly resulting from the suggestion, but in no event shall said amount exceed two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500.00). In the event that more than one (1) employee has authorized the suggestion, the sum percent shall be pro-rated among the employees authoring the suggestion.
Tommy Tutone April 12, 2012 at 01:34 PM
The city can no longer afford the luxury of Federal and State handouts.The mother of all Empire killers,DEBT,is upon us.Federal debt is around 16 TRILLION.European countries are slipping back into recession on their way,IMHO,to depression.All things are connected and the status quo was an illusion. It's okay to hope,but i fear the worst is yet to come and the sooner they accept this,the sooner we'll be able to claw our way out.
David T April 12, 2012 at 03:49 PM
The city gave Synagro, a huge, powerful company, a 27 year contract to profit off the burning of sewer sludge from 40 plus communities. Let's get more money back from them! I want to see those accounting books! How much money do they pull in weekly, monthly, yearly? Besides burning Woonsocket's sludge, what do we get back in return besides the stench??? How much of the profit do we get from this huge, money making business????
Susan Pawlina April 14, 2012 at 06:02 PM
Jeff I agree with your blog we need change. Jeff one area I believe we need the biggest change is how we elect our officials here in the city of Woonsocket. As it stands now the top 7 vote getters & and top 5 vote getters are elected to the city Council and School Committee respectively. No one running for any office has to have any kind of platform, Or has to answer for any past voting history if they have already served as an elected official because they don't run against anyone. There are no debates.no one's elected on their own merits and for the most part it's all done in the city's high-rises and bullet voting, and if you don't know what that is no one has educated you about how our elections really work and as I see it that's a problem. We need to take the elections out of the high-rises and we need to do that by going to a ward system we need to have 5 districts counselors and 2 council members at-large. & The school committee needs to have 3 district committee members and 2 at large. This is In my opinion the only way we can take back control of our elections and get it out of the high-rises and bullet voting.
Bill Hall April 16, 2012 at 12:54 PM
Well Jeff all I see is more bitching and no solutions. We I agree since our elected officials refuse to do what the tax payers want; holding back you quarterly tax bill is a good first step. This will force them to do what the people have asked for, in declaring bankruptcy to reboot the system. Next step is to ask them to resign because they reputations are squat now and no one trusts them. If they are honorable people they will step down if they are not honorable they will try to stay. We must tell them you let us down and now you need to go. Lets start by shutting down departments we really do not need like the parks department, public works, Animal control until we are out of the hole. Lay them off and give them a nice long summer off. I my self work third shift and can donate a few hours a day to help keep the parks clean or stand there leaning on a shovel while someone digs a hole. If that is to much then make them part time positions with limited benefits. No more pensions let them invest in their own retirement in a 401k. Please I ask all home owners not to pay the installment of the new taxes being imposed on us. IT IS OUR BEST FIRST STEP.
Leo R Larence April 19, 2012 at 03:41 PM
Too withhold taxes will not help it will make more problems for all of us ,just think about it all the work and Law. to try and collect past due taxes , and interest that will be added to late payers ,no my fellow citizens ,this is not the answer .To all meet and talk well I beleive the Taxpayers coalition nis having a meeting in a few weks not sure when the date will be but that will be ower best time to talk .
pitbull tickler April 20, 2012 at 06:48 PM
I say break out the ax handles
DonQ April 30, 2012 at 01:14 PM
Withholding the tax payments is not going to gain anything. However, we need to keep reminding everyone who the parties responsible for this mess we are in are. Marc Dubois, most recent former School Committee Chairman. John Ward, former school committee chairman. School Committee members who decided that the taxpayers did not deserve any type of accountability so they voted against having the huge deficit investigated: Eleanor Nadeau, Vimala Phongsavanh, and John Donlon. These are the names that we must not forget. These are the names that we the taxpayers must ensure do not hold any office in the City of Woonsocket again. They have demonstrated that they have absolutely no concern for the taxpayers of the city.
John Ward April 30, 2012 at 05:17 PM
@DonQ: When I left the school committee there was a $2.5 million surplus. The deficits began when the next school committee hired Macera and let her do whatever she pleased with almost no controls. As for the investigation, the city council will begin the process on May 9th in a meeting with legal counsel to review our legal authority and plan strategy. The council will be demanding email records of the former business manager, superintendent and school committee members regarding budgets and contracts. Witnesses to be called will include current and former employees, school committee members. Hearings will be held in public in accordance with the law.
DonQ April 30, 2012 at 06:13 PM
Mr Ward, You publicly stated that the City Council would investigate the deficit but you really didn't expect to find anything. As one of the taxpayers who has to pay for this travesty, I don't have much confidence in the investigation that you and the City Council will perform. I still hold out hope that the State Police will respond to the petition that was taken and come into Woonsocket and launch a proper and thorough investigation. I stand by my original posting
Russell Archambault May 05, 2012 at 01:40 AM
where would all those hard working folks work. all our factories are gone. also lets give credit to all the other ethnic groups that made our city great. All we have now for a few of us is great pride and memories.
Russell Archambault May 05, 2012 at 01:49 AM
dude and liz your right, city hall is too small.when city hall was put in the place it is now, those politicians had the foresight to know that one day that it would be the way it is, to hold citizens back from attending meetings.Or maybe they had the foresight that one day that they would have to deal with the stupidity that goes on patch and didnt want to deal with the same at city meetings. thank god for our forefathers
Russell Archambault May 05, 2012 at 01:56 AM
perhaps the mothers of children who attend schools in woonsocket could fund their own breakfast program at home. god knows their getting enough federal food stamps to feed their poor children.
Brendalee Hartland McGovern May 11, 2012 at 04:00 PM
a very simple concept: A unit of something — time, energy, money — spent on this cannot be spent on that. In other words the City of Woonsocket needs to get back to simpler times and just cut the frills they need to stop relying upon the taxpayers of the City to bail them out of the issues at hand.


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