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UPDATE: Chafee Announces Appointment Of Budget Commission for Woonsocket

Dina Dutremble, retired school business officer, named to commission with Mayor Leo Fontaine and Council President John Ward.

Gov. Lincoln Chafee made a swift, affirmative response to the Woonsocket City Council's request for a budget commisson today, announcing the appointment of a five-member panel, according to a release this afternoon.

Director of Revenue Rosemary Booth Gallogly has appointed Peder Schaefer, Associate Director of the League of Cities and Towns; William Sequino, Town Manager of East Greenwich; and Dina Dutremble, a retired school business officer familiar with the financial conditions and operations of the Woonsocket Education Department.

By law, the other two members of the commission will be Mayor Leo Fontaine and Woonsocket City Council President John Ward.

The commission is the second of three possible steps – fiscal overseer, budget commission, and receiver – of state intervention under the Fiscal Stability Act of 2010. On Friday, Ward noted that the House decision to send the supplemental tax bill back to committee on Thursday left the city with little choice but to ask for a budget commission to step in.

"It left the city very few options", said Fontaine this afternoon. He said he learned that Gallogly was appointing the Commission this afternoon. Now, the only option that will allow the schools to pay some of their bills is to advance state aid - about $4 million - from the June delivery date to this month to give to creditors. Only a budget commission has the authority to advance that state aid payment, Fontaine said.

Some vendors have appealed the Department of Education to make sure they're paid first from that sum, leaving about $3 million. The first thing to be paid from that will be the school department's payroll for the last weeks of the fiscal year, he said.

Remaining bills will be paid from whatever is left, a figure Fontaine did not have immediately available.

The Woonsocket City Council and Woonsocket School Committee will continue to meet, Fontaine said, but are stripped of authority over any fiscal matters - spending and hiring, for instance, are now the responsibility of the Budget Commission. The Budget Commission's first meeting, which is open to the public and will be posted, will be on Friday morning, Fontaine said. He said the exact time and venue have not been decided yet.

Fontaine said the Budget Commission's powers are very similar to that of a receiver, with the exception that a receiver can move the city into bankruptcy.

Fontaine said Gallogly intends to revive the supplemental tax bill - which will reduce the deficit the Budget Commission will need to deal with from $10 million to about $4.4 million, a move he supports.

Christopher May 30, 2012 at 12:15 AM
By law, 2/5 of the commission must be people who are currently running the city into the ground. We've got a third person who is also formerly employed by the city. This leaves only two actual outsiders. How does this count as state oversight? :\
Tommy Tutone May 30, 2012 at 12:24 AM
The money junkies (Ward and Fontaine) will be pushing for their fresh injection of money heroin real soon....round two coming up!
David T May 30, 2012 at 01:36 AM
Town manager of East Greenwich? The very antithesis of our poor city sitting on this board? EG only gets 1.4 mil in state funding for their schools. Will he have a good enough understanding of the needs of this city?
Jerry May 30, 2012 at 01:55 AM
David, The guy from Barrington was going to be out of town for a polo match so this the best we could do.
la_mouffette May 30, 2012 at 06:11 AM
My first thought as well. From what I know of Dutremble, I like her. She seems like a competent number cruncher. But I would prefer 3/5 from out of town...
la_mouffette May 30, 2012 at 06:18 AM
"On Friday, Ward noted that the House decision to send the supplemental tax bill back to committee on Thursday left the city with little choice but to ask for a budget commission to step in." Council President Ward and Mayor Fontaine are lying, plain and simple, by framing it this way. They had been notified WEEKS ago that a Budget Commission WOULD be coming in, whether or not the Supplemental Tax was passed. Our administration had no concrete plan that would get us out of this hole, and lacked the powers to do so. This Budget Commission may not be able to fix all the problems, but the Chafee administration is hesitate to place us in Receivership, because of the tenuous condition of so many cities and towns in RI right now. But don't let Fontaine or Ward lie to you. They didn't really bring in the Commission, and this is not really Baldelli-Hunt's fault. They invited the Commission as a formality, to save face, and to make political hay out of the situation. Period.
English first May 30, 2012 at 01:04 PM
Demographics of E Greewich: As of the United States Census[1] of 2000, there were 12,948 people, and 3,541 families in the town. The racial makeup of the town was 96.64% White, 0.69% African American, 0.06% Native American, 2.50% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.29% from other races, and 0.82% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.90% of the population. There were 4,960 households out of which 36.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 61.5% were married couples living together, 7.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.6% were non-families. 24.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. In the town the population was spread out with 27.5% under the age of 18, 4.6% from 18 to 24, 26.6% from 25 to 44, 27.7% from 45 to 64, and 13.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. The median income for a household in the town was $170,063, and the median income for a family was $190,221. Males had a median income of $101,578 versus $90,934 for females. . About 2.5% of families and 4.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.1% of those under age 18 and 7.0% of those age 66 or over
Novan for Life May 30, 2012 at 02:12 PM
it's the state of rhode island for you
arbi May 30, 2012 at 04:05 PM
Since our City Council voted to abdicate the duties they were voted in to do, why not lay them off, thus saving approximately $70,00.00 per year plus health care costs. arbi
David T May 31, 2012 at 12:39 AM
Thanks for the laugh Jerry.

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