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Poll: Should City Impose Supplemental Tax?

You decide: Is it a necessary sacrifice by homeowners to help fill the school department's $10 million deficit, or are residents taxed enough already?


The Woonsocket Education Department is facing a $10 million deficit, pushing the city to the brink of municipal bankruptcy. And Woonsocket homeowners may be footing the bill.

The City Council has scheduled a special meeting at 7 p.m. tonight to consider imposing a supplemental property tax bill this year, which the state General Assembly would also have to approve. The city would seek an extra $3.15 for every $1,000 of assessed residential property value, $4.51 for commercial property, and $5.81 for motor vehicles. Homeowners with houses valued at $150,000 would get a bill for nearly $500.

City officials said the supplemental bill would raise about $6.6 million, leaving another $3 million the city and school department must make up through cuts or alternate revenue streams. Some City Council members are pinning their hopes on an infusion of cash from the state, but with several other Rhode Island communities facing similar deficits, there's no indication additional education aid is on the way.

Even if the council and legislature approve a supplemental tax bill, Woonsocket will still have to borrow money to keep schools open. The education department is expected to run out of money by April 6, leaving the city no ability to pay teacher and staff salaries, or even the electricity bill. Revenue from the supplemental tax bill wouldn't arrive by then, likely forcing additional borrowing.

So what do you think? Should the city impose an immediate supplemental tax bill, or are residents stretched too thin already? Vote in our poll and add your argument to the debate in the comments section below. And don't forget to check back with WoonsocketPatch tomorrow morning for full coverage of tonight's meeting.

Novan for Life March 26, 2012 at 05:12 PM
brilliant idea where did find that one the back of a cereal box
Novan for Life March 26, 2012 at 05:13 PM
yeah then you'll be back on here complaining about a 20% supplemental tax bill!!!
Novan for Life March 26, 2012 at 05:15 PM
thats not how it works sorry nice idea
DonQ March 26, 2012 at 05:26 PM
Strange that we are seeing a flurry of posts in just a few minutes from one person. He has posted a negative reply to almost every post that calls for declaring bankruptcy or making drastic cuts. Anyone want to bet he's worried that his job is one that will be cut if a receiver comes in and takes over.
LEXINGTON GREEN March 26, 2012 at 05:27 PM
Friday afternoon I over heard a city resident make a statement that if true heads should roll There's a property a mill building that use to house Nyanza on Singleton ST The property has an assed value that would bring in $100,000 in tax money to the city. The owner complained to his friend & City Woon Economic Dir Matt W & He helped the man get the value reduced so as he would only pay $136.00 per yr in taxes.The Owner & Matt W stated he was re-cycling not MFG there hence reducing his taxes I'm not sure if this is true or not but someone on the City Council should find out if this is true I know rumors are started all the time in this city it's worth looking into Here's some math if city tax payers have to pay a supplement tax @ $400.00 & you divide that into the $100,000 that was changed that would amount to 2500 tax payers having to come up with extra money to make up those taxes lost Also another fact we are in the RED by $10 Million now & next Yr some say another $8/$10 Million for a total of $20 Million which makes sense If the WED needs $75 Mill to run the Schools & are given only $66 Mill PY that's $9 Mill in the hole The city father's say the 5th quarter tax bill will only be $400.00 or so Let's look at that for a moment theres 10K home owners in Woonie that pay taxes if $100K divide by $400 = 2,500 tax payers, then how much will it cost every Home Owner & Biz Owner to bale out a $20 Million deficit? In my opinion it looks like $2000 per Home Owner & Business OUCH
English first March 26, 2012 at 06:12 PM
In the Providence Journal there was an editorial reminding Woonsocket that when a city (like Central Falls) is in bankrupcy one person... a receiver, is in charge. He (or she) is not voted in. He is able to make major changes like raise taxes, break unions, close libraries, and the taxpayers have no say. That sounds like a dictator or king. I am not sure if this is true. However, I don't like anyone appointed by the state (Chafee appointee?) that cannot be voted out.
LEXINGTON GREEN March 26, 2012 at 06:23 PM
Another Sorry Statement, our good Mayor states he is having trouble Living on the $80,000 Salary that he gets. WTF
Memere March 26, 2012 at 06:42 PM
Richard, Woonsocket has way too many free-loaders who use our services, but pay no takes. I'm not talking here about the elderly who have always lived here, worked and did pay taxes when they were younger. I'm talking about the people who have just moved here for our welfare. They have absolutely no loyalty to this city other than to collect their welfare checks. This is a very good reason why our city is going down the tubes - and not just financially.
DonQ March 26, 2012 at 06:50 PM
Would you rather let our present situation continue just the way it is? Our City Council and Mayor refuse to make the cuts necessary to regain control of our spiraling costs. They continue to give into every union demand. They continue to increase funding for welfare programs. They have done nothing to reduce the illegal student population. Less than 30% of the residents are paying the bills in the city. Spending in the city has been mismanaged for years. Now they want us to give them millions more in supplemental taxes so they can mismanage that too. A receiver will change much of this. At the very least a receiver will get rid of the people who have been responsible for the mess we are in.
English first March 26, 2012 at 06:58 PM
Ron.... I am not sure if what you say is true. In Central Falls I don't think any one was fired or let go. The Mayor is still the Mayor.....in Central Falls. Luckily, I don't have to decide this I was just mentioning the "appointee" status of the bankruptcy situation. Who will Chafee appoint to run Woonsocket? I am not even sure if it will work the same way in Woonsocket as Central Falls. Many of the contributors of this page are more informed about this situation that I.
RonW March 26, 2012 at 07:28 PM
http://oceanstatecurrent.com/research/woonsocket-teachers-receive-4-7-million-in-raises-and-bonuses-in-current-contract/
CLAUDETTE T. KALF March 27, 2012 at 01:14 AM
BANRUPTCY AND REGIONALIZATION NOW!!!!!!!! Let's start over and clean up this city and state.
CLAUDETTE T. KALF March 27, 2012 at 01:15 AM
AMEN MR. BERNIER!!!!
CLAUDETTE T. KALF March 27, 2012 at 01:19 AM
At least with bankruptcy, we will finally have a clear accounting of our situation and we will be taxed on the "whole bill" not just a portion and then get retaxed for sewer, for water and everything else you can thing of. I'd rather pay 20% once and be done with it, then to keep playing around with what will be the inevitable.
CLAUDETTE T. KALF March 27, 2012 at 01:25 AM
Mr. Bernier, I think you are right, I think there are a lot of city officials worried about their jobs. They talk about firing past administrators, they should be in jail!!!!
gino mencarini March 27, 2012 at 12:58 PM
dont forget woonsockets druggies the city will pay a taxi to bring them to get there drugs at the methadone clinic
Seriously RI ?? March 27, 2012 at 01:55 PM
Mr Bernier, I believe that the people responsible have all moved on already. What a shame THAT is. And why dont you suggest an actual plan to "reduce the Illegal population". What should the city do? Send out letters saying "if you are illegal, you have 30 days" That should do it right? And as far as attempting to get $ from all of the people who dont own property in Woon, like the ones who are sucking it dry...there is no REAL way to do it. The people who DO know anything about how to get $ from taxpayers are already trying to find a way...b/c you see...they work and have to pay for all of "the others" too. Guessing they dont like it either. So Ron, when you come up with those answers/suggestions...I bet the City would like to hear them. FYI a receiver will make your lives MISERABLE...more than you can even imagine. Regionalization is a GREAT idea....its just a decade away, even if they start today.
John R Dionne March 27, 2012 at 02:19 PM
f John Wards plan moves forward his idea is to send out the 5th quarter bill, then take the balance of the 10 million deficit and spread it out over 5 years. If the school committee, city council and mayor do their jobs another supplemental tax bill should be avoided because the next city budget should include the needed amount to balance the school departments needs. The Superindent of schools has stated she is working on a zero based budget. This will accomplish two things. It will finally tell us what the "basic need as required by law is" and secondly provide for a balanced budget. If the Council doesn't fund the need, the school committee will go to court in the city will have to pay the shortfall. A receiver could eliminate the five year plan and hit us for the 100% monies due. Remember the 10 million deficit has already been spent so it has to be paid. Let us not forget that people who rallyed against the extra tax bill last year won with 11.7 mil being put on a credit card for 5 years at a interest cost of 3 million dollars. That 3 million in interest we are now about to pay could have been given to the school department and is what a receiver would have probably concluded. People forget that former mayor menard recommended a supplemental tax bill which was defeated because of Roger Jalette, Stella Brien and Sue Vadenais. I don't call 3 million in interest for five years a win for the taxpayers. John R Dionne
DonQ March 27, 2012 at 02:21 PM
First off, stop the gravy train for the illegal immigrants. If we stop providing them with welfare payments, food stamps, free healthcare, and free education, then they will move on and suck some other community dry. As for bankruptcy - not all of the players responsible for the mess we are in have moved on. One of those responsible is the City Council Prsident. One of the (more recent) is a new City Councilor. Several of them are still on the school committee. The only way to get rid of all of them at once is to bring in a receiver. A receiver would clear out the school committee, the city council and the mayor. That would give us a fresh start. We probably could vote these people out of office if we could stop the chicken dinners they serve in the high rises at election time.
give me a break March 27, 2012 at 05:22 PM
well does anyone wonder what would happen if we all took the supplement tax bills and mark the envelope RETURN TO SENDER.???? what to the council and the mayor in CF when the receiver took over, omg i don't want to loose my power,please pay your tax bills
DonQ March 27, 2012 at 05:35 PM
Unfortunately, it wouldn't do any good. You don't pay the tax, they are going to tack 15% onto the amount that is owed. Eventually, they will end up taking your property. They have already made up their minds that we are going to bail them out and save their egos. Last nights meeting was a sham. They had already made up their minds that it is better to bankrupt the citizens and save their egos than do the honorable thing and declare bankruptcy for the city.
Seriously RI ?? March 27, 2012 at 08:20 PM
SO Ron, Im sorry I dont see the answers to those ?? up above. We all understand that we need to close the borders, stop the wasteful welfare fraud, shut down the food stamps and free phones to people buying Ding Dongs & driving Escalades but what SPECIFICALLY would you proposed to get the ILLEGALS OUT OF WOONSOCKET TODAY? Or wait, you dont have a plan? didnt think so. Ok, and I agree that some of the players are stiil in this game...but I have to disagree on your complaint with Mr Ward. I have been reading the news and watching tv for weeks on this stuff and it seems to me that he is one of the only ones who has the education, background and frankly the patience to deal with trying to fix a mess that likly isnt fixable. If I were him, Id turn my back and walk away. I believe he has a "regular job" doesnt he ? Like Mr Dionne said, a reciever could hit you with a bill for "ALL MONIES DUE"...Would hit you all involved like a kick to the throat. Oh, and Mr B, why no reply button on your posts? Not looking for replies? Ill be waiting for those replies...Illegals ? and on how to tax the slugs?... tick tock tick tock..
DonQ March 27, 2012 at 08:34 PM
First, there is no "Reply" on my messages because only the original poster of a thread has a reply button. I won't waste anymore of my time "debating" you. It's obvious from your badgering that you either are John Ward or you are someone close to John Ward. Notice that I had the honesty to use my name, you on the other hand apparently don't possess that honesty and feel the need to hide your identity.
Dave F March 27, 2012 at 08:52 PM
Can anyone give me in written that we will not get another supplement tax bill next year or the year after if not then file bankrupcy..water and sewer taxes are going to be bad enough the next few years nevermind a supplement tax bill every year,, also two ideas 1, why not tax everyone who has a registered car in the city, 2, tax every child in the school system... its not perfect but it will help more than just the 10000 people paying taxes now,,, and yes i have two kids in the school system
Seriously RI ?? March 28, 2012 at 05:11 AM
Ron, I am simply a person who has been watching and reading, everything...and can see that very few people are offering up suggestions. Including you. And when asked direct questions you have no answers. WHO I am is really of no consequence to you, nor why I choose not to identify myself. Last I checked, it was not required. I would hope that if you come her to complain, then you might have some solution. I guess not. If the city goes into recievership...you will all lose services that the current administration would have fought to preserve...for the sake of its people...Maybe a Library, or a Senior Center. Some pretty intelligent people are fighting for you....WAKE UP...
DonQ March 28, 2012 at 10:04 AM
These "pretty intelligent" people are fighting to preserve the status quo, not make a better life for people There are some serious cuts that need to be made. Yes, these cuts need to be made nationwide, but Woonsocket could be a model to the rest of the country. However, as usual the politicians answer to everything is not to cut waste, but to raise taxes. I am a senior citizen who lives on a fixed income. Fortunately for me, I still own my home. If the politicians have their way, there is a good possibility that I will no longer own my home. If the politicians have their way, they would prefer to see every citizen (locally and nationwide) on some sort of a welfare program. It's much easier to control people who are dependent on you for their needs. The politicians are responsible for the situation we are in, but they have no solution (other than tax, tax, tax) to get is out of the mess they created.
DonQ March 28, 2012 at 10:42 AM
You want some concrete ideas on how the city can reduce costs -start by reducing manepower. Drive around the city and you will often see "work" crews with five or six individuals. One or two people are actually working, the others are stnding around talking. Obviously that number of people aren't really needed to do the job. An idea that could save a lot of money for the taxpayers - investigate the abuse of overtime - one abuse that I have reported repeatedly and nothing gets done - when we have any amount of snow, the plows are sent out to plow and sand. Woonsocket plow drivers apparently don't know how to plow as they insist on plowing bare pavement over and over and over. Investigate the abuse of overtime in the fire and police departments. Look for patterns of abuse. There is something seriously wrong when the fire department overtime was budgeted at $200K and they have already spent 600K with three months left in the fiscal year. Can we possibly think that maybe people are taking turns taking time off so that their buddies can work overtime. I don't know what the police department overtime budget is, but I'm willing to bet you will find the same situation there. Let's eliminate the lucrative guaranteed COLAs for retirees. Those of us living on social security don't have a guaranteed COLA but our city government stupidly agreed to guaranteed COLAs with the city unions. Bottom line, how about we start controlling the unions, not letting the unions control us.
Seriously RI ?? March 28, 2012 at 11:57 AM
Now that's more of what I was looking for. I've been reading and watching for a very long time and thought that with all of the focus on unions in the past few years, the council had done all that they w/regard to reeling that issue in. If what you say is true, then that is certainly top on the list. Not sure that any receiver is going to take on Unions however, will just chop off easy stuff, services. And in this day and age, I would hope that if Woonsocket still has city employees standing around, as you say, anyone who is able would get those phones out, and take pictures. Show the leadership..if people are frustrated..show them the actual abuse. NO blanket statements. I really hope that this will work out for you Ron, b/c no one should lose their home at this point in your life. With regard to issues as large as Illegals, and abuse of the systems put in place to help people, they will hopefully all be addressed in November. We vote the people in who are working toward amnesty instead of bigger (and cheaper) fences. Tell your friends to VOTE.
DMA April 02, 2012 at 07:33 PM
The Ward Tax Will Destroy the City!!!!
Seriously RI ?? April 02, 2012 at 08:02 PM
if you dont pay now, in the plan deisgned BY the City...you WILL pay LATER, in the plan designed by the Receiver. THAT % will be higher. They DO NOT care about you..none of you, not at all. Do you not understand that?

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