The Woonsocket City Council hitting residents with 13 percent additional property tax bill to help pay off the School Department's $10 million deficit. Officials are calling it an unfortunate necessity, but will it ultimately stave off municipal bankruptcy?
Avoiding such a scenario is critical to keeping costs for homeowners as low as possible, Mayor Leo Fontaine told more than 150 residents in attendance at Monday night's meeting. Should Woonsocket declare bankrtuptcy, a state receiver would take over, and residents could be hit harder, Fontaine said.
"If we don't solve this problem ourselves, it will be solved for us, and that may not be as beneficial for us as we'd like it to be," said Mayor Leo Fontaine. "If we turn our fate over to a receiver, you could receive a tax bill much larger than this."
Still, there are questions whether the supplemental bill will raise enough money to avoid state receivership before any possible state aid — which the city has requested of the governor — and/or budget cuts plugs the $10 million hole. City Council President John Ward voiced concerns over some residents' ability to pay. "It could be a disaster for some of our elderly and our poor," he said.
So what do you think? Will the supplemental tax bill ultimately work, staving off bankruptcy and saving residents money in the long-run?