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Baldelli-Hunt: 'We Are Not Going to Wait One Minute'

New Mayor Pledges Quick Action to Turn Woonsocket's Fate Around

From left, Council President Al Brien, City Clerk Christina Harmon-Duarte and Councilman Roger Jalette. CREDIT: Rob Borkowski
From left, Council President Al Brien, City Clerk Christina Harmon-Duarte and Councilman Roger Jalette. CREDIT: Rob Borkowski
RI Speaker of the House Gordon Fox swore in Mayor Lisa Baldelli Hunt Tuesday night at Stadium Theater, launching the former state rep on a mission to mend Woonsocket's image, finances and future.

The new Mayor offered smiles and thanks for her supporters, "But the hard work begins tomorrow and we are not going to waste one minute turning this city around," Baldelli-Hunt told the theater's packed crowd.

The new mayor suggested an end-run around Woonsocket's Budget Commission-engineered 5-year-plan, which reduces the city's Homestead tax exemption, cuts retiree benefits, unifies all city employees under one health plan and significantly raises property taxes.  

"The City of Woonsocket cannot absorb the planned tax increases in the 5-year-plan," Baldelli-Hunt said. Instead, she said, the City will work to bring in new businesses and tax revenue and work doggedly with Director of Revenue Rosemary Booth Gallogly to make the city solvent again. "We share a common goal in making sure that Woonsocket will be brought back to financial solvency in short order," Baldelli-Hunt said.

"Starting tomorrow we will be rolling out the welcome mat in Woonsocket," Baldelli-Hunt said, referencing her pledge to act as the city's Economic Development Director. She said she had also won the aid of developer Scott Gibbs, whom she said would work to bring new industry to the city. 

Another aide in restoring Woonsocket's financial health, Baldelli-Hunt said, would be Michael O'Keefe, who was instrumental in restoring East Providence's fiscal standing. 

The night was emceed by Baldelli-Hunt's uncle, former Mayor Charles C. Baldelli, who also introduced the oaths of office taken by new City Clerk Christina Harmon-Duarte and the City Council, sporting new members Garrett Mancieri and Melissa Murray. 

The new Council elected Albert Brien as Council President, and Bob Moreau as Vice President. Brien and Baldelli-Hunt will now take state law-mandated posts on the Woonsocket Budget Commission, replacing former Mayor Leo Fontaine and former Council President John Ward.

Baldelli-Hunt also announced her appointments for the Woonsocket School Committee, which she selected from a list of 28 applicants with the help of her School Board Review Committee (David Lahousse, Thomas Bruce, Donna Coderre, Jackie Perez and Thomas Ray) Their names are: Daniel Chattman, Soren Seale, Jose Rivera, Susan Pawlina and George Lacouture.

The appointments, which were not announced prior to the inauguration, will be voted on at a later City Council meeting, Baldelli-Hunt said. A change voters approved last year switched the elected positions to Mayor-appointed posts
Dave Bostwick December 04, 2013 at 07:07 AM
"But the hard work begins tomorrow and we are not going to waste one minute turning this city around," Great to hear,,,
Nelson Aldrich December 04, 2013 at 08:10 AM
Great to hear Dave....but just words. The honeymoon will be over in July if the supplemental becomes completely embedded with another 4% compounded in. I remain skeptical, there's a reluctance to cut at the State House, a reluctance to give Woonsocket the tools it needs to survive in a no-growth economy. Revenue is her mainstay and that won't be enough. That being said, though, I remain open to being pleasantly surprised.
virgil earp December 04, 2013 at 02:26 PM
o
virgil earp December 04, 2013 at 02:27 PM
(Honking harmonica) There's something happenin' here, but you don't know what it is, do you . . . Mistah Jones . . . "
Ron December 04, 2013 at 03:16 PM
What do you get when you pack the Stadium full of Democrats? THE END
Uncle Ben December 04, 2013 at 05:10 PM
Ron, tell that to all the people who can't shop in the city anymore.
Novan for Life December 18, 2013 at 08:12 PM
Oh and Republicans are so much better huh Ron go back in your hole
Ron December 18, 2013 at 08:34 PM
Novan, I thought you had at least half a brain- I was wrong.

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