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Woonsocket Budget Commission May Have To Cut To Fix Deficit

RI Revenue Chief: Members face tough choices if supplemental tax bill doesn't materialize.

 

With little time and no progress to revive the supplemental tax bill, RI Director of Revenue Mary Booth Gallogly told the they may have to cut millions from the city's budget.

Gallogly, who was working this week to gain support for the supplemental tax from the Woonsocket delegation to the General Assembly, said she had nothing to report so far. "I actually don't know any more than I knew when it was referred back to committee," Gallogly said.

Without the Woonsocket delegation's support, the supplemental tax bill won't make it back to a House vote, which effectively kills the bill. The supplemental tax is expected to raise $6.6 million, with $4.3 million for the school department, said City Finance Director Thomas Bruce. Without it, the city needs to cut a total of $10 million from the city's budget, "Which is going to require some very significant reductions and tough choices," Gallogly said.

The remark was the first official acknowledgement of the possibility of resolving the city's budget woes through cuts instead of increasing the tax levy in weeks of public meetings on the issue.

The Budget Commission put a consideration of whether to pursue the supplemental tax bill on their agenda for the next meeting, Tuesday, 3 p.m., again at City Hall on the third floor.

"I'm honestly not sure if there's enough there to cut," said Commission member  and City Council President John Ward. After the meeting, Ward offered some rough ideas for what the Budget Commission will have to discuss to make the necessary cuts.

Ward said some of the things they'd have to consider reducing include retiree benefits, all health care plans, and a renegotiation of the police department bargaining agreement that expires on June 30. "Everything will be on the table," Ward said, and, "We'll be in the position of having to do all of it very quickly."

June 29 is the deadline to pass a budget so the city can send out tax bills based on the required amount, Bruce said. Currently, the city's municipal budget is $122 million, he said, and the school department budget is at $62 million. (On May 23, the School Committee voted first passage on a $69.8 million budget for next year.)

After Tuesday's meeting, the Budget Commission will be meeting regularly Mondays at 8 a.m. at City Hall.

Russell Archambault June 03, 2012 at 06:26 PM
MISTY; agree on everyone doing their fair share, nobody would complain, just the ones who would have to anty up. that would take considerate planing! with no political correctness. can you find anyone that could come up with a fair plan, that could be implemented. that person would be crushed before getting off the starting line.
rene carpentier June 05, 2012 at 10:23 PM
Time for a fresh start enough is enough. Last year i paid several thousand dollars in taxes. We can"t afford being robbed by this city anymore.
RonW June 06, 2012 at 12:53 AM
http://news.providencejournal.com/breaking-news/2012/06/budget-commissi.html?plckItemsPerPage=10&plckSort=TimeStampDescending&plckFindCommentKey=CommentKey:f9fa074e-9112-4c0b-bace-a6afbe82721e#pluck_comments_list
Tommy Tutone June 06, 2012 at 01:47 AM
Thanks for the update,RonW.No cuts,just more taxes.Won't fix anything in the long run.Let the Exodus begin! Woonsocket's a sewer!
DonQ June 06, 2012 at 10:18 AM
This is exactly why Fontaine and Ward should not be seated on the budget commission. Instead of making the hard cuts necessary, it's going to be business as usual. Fontaine and Ward have convinced the commission that they have cut as much as possible and now it is time to further screw the taxpayers. So what was the purpose of bringing in the budget commission. They obviously have no more intestinal fortitude than what Fontaine and Ward have. They are obviously a bunch of cowards looking to take the easiest way possible out of this mess. Of course, the easiest way out to bleed the taxpayers even more. May they all rot in Hell.

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