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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.

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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