Woonsocket Budget Commission Preparing For Union Talks

Sequino: Most of savings in budget likely to come from benefit negotiations, supplemental tax will also be necessary.


The Woonsocket Budget Commission met briefly this morning, discussing how to lay the groundwork for talks with the city's unions, where Chairman Bill Sequino says the bulk of the panel's cutting will take place.

Once those talks (which will likely begin next week) are finished, Sequino said, the Commission will also have to work to pass a supplemental tax bill. Both cuts and increased tax revenue will be required to solve the city's deficit, Sequino said. "It can't be one or the other," Sequino said.

The savings will have to focus primarily on benefits for the city's union employees, he said, since there is little to cut from the city's budget and the school budget, in the final review stage, is largely finished. 

On Thursday, Sequino said, the Budget Commission will meet to assess the situation, which will require gathering all the data on all city employees' benefits: holiday pay, vacation and, retirement and health care. Once they have all that information in one place, Sequino said, they can begin assessing what the city can fairly afford, and what they'll need to cut.

"I think we want to try to keep everybody the same if it's at all possible," Sequino said - equitable with each other, so no one group is getting more than another.

During Monday's meeting, Commission member City Council President John Ward suggested the meeting to figure out what they'd be asking from the unions. "I think the Commission needs to have a sense of the target," Ward said.

"I certainly agree," Sequino said, "The Budget Commission needs to get a game plan." 

They'll start putting that together at their next meeting Thursday, 3 p.m., at City Hall.

Memere July 31, 2012 at 09:05 PM
Common sense, I am sorry that you have suffered but, you are definitely not the only one. Many city employees, who you continue to to blame, do not make a high salary and are now having to pay the same high taxes that you do. If you are fortunate enough to not be a homeowner in this city, than you have the option of moving to another city if you do not like the atmosphere here. I take great offense with your comment "Put up and shut up". EVERY tax payer in this city, especially the homeowners who are paying for most of this mess, has the right to voice his opinion!!!!
Still Hope August 01, 2012 at 12:19 AM
Again, what are you talkin about? First off, water and sewer is NOT a tax any more than your electricity is a tax. Stop using and you'll stop paying. Second, I would like to know where you live and why you are being treated different than everyone else? You keep reiterating that "your family bore some increasing burden EVERY year". I'm gonna take a stab and say you live in a 3-family with some relatives on each floor. Otherwise, your tax liability should have seen waning and waxing with the changing budgets and the modified homestead exemptions, just like the rest of us. Please enlighten us on the injustices you've faced. As far as keeping Menard in office, I think had a lot to do with the direction she was taking the city. She was concerned about bringing back the culture, restoring rundown buildings and neglected tenament houses, revitalizing the community, and reestablishing a strong business presence. She tried to achieve this while being fiscally responsible. She was tough, but fair with unions. She offered a city where you could proudly raise a family. Remember when Autumnfest wasn't just a hangout for drunks and punks? Unfortunately, the guy who led the charge to oust the former mayor is now running the city into a hole filled with debt, frustration, and a big F U to the families and businesses that Sue Menard tried to attract. Leo is letting the businesses go while stickin it to the families. I wonder what his motives really are.
Common Sense August 01, 2012 at 01:51 AM
No hope, have you checked Woonsocket's commercial tax rate? It is and has been for many years, one of the highest in the State. Menard business friendly? You're too funny. She knew the businesses didn't command the voting block she needed to get reelected and pad her fat pension. She's laughing all the way to the bank. Suckers.....
harley0011 August 01, 2012 at 02:45 AM
You are pathetic Mr. Ward..... Perhaps if you spent a little time with the police and fire depts you would have a clue what it is they actually do...... Don't speak if you don't know what you're actually talking about. You sound like an idiot when you open your mouth to the people that are actually working with the non tax paying residents you would never give the time of day to.....
harley0011 August 01, 2012 at 02:53 AM
Excuse me Don Q but as a union member I can safely say, 75% of my coworkers do live in the city and have been absorbing a lot with taxes as well as our concessions, so please get facts before you post.
harley0011 August 01, 2012 at 03:12 AM
And as far as how hard the union members are working......it takes training in crazy weather to be able to function the way we do, so don't insinuate that people are sitting around unless a call comes in, because that is clearly not the case if you take time to educate yourself to what the fire dept or police dept do while they are dealing with people you would not even acknowledge as a life form in your every day life. Educate yourself before you speak. I am very happy you haven't needed emergency services, but the day you do is the day you get a glimpse into what each public safety person actually does. Until that day you will not understand and until that day you are not fit to speak on the topic. Thank you Memere, I am glad someone sees things for what they really are.
harley0011 August 01, 2012 at 03:19 AM
Wow.....I commented twice tonight, the one addressed to Mr Ward needs to be approved but the others don't.....way to try and slant view points Mr. Ward.....if its not supporting your view point act like it doesn't exist....that sounds about right.....
Still Hope August 01, 2012 at 04:26 AM
The commercial tax rate in Woonsocket is on par with the rate of most urban communities in RI. If that is your only gauge for business climate, then you are neglecting quite a few important incentives and programs. Do you think CVS stays here because they enjoy the smell? Feel free to research the many financially friendly programs Woonsocket offers to certain businesses, also note which ones were enacted or supported during Menard's tenure. And finally, note the Main St project, the Market Sq revitalization, the Arts revival, the push for the updated rail system(both intrastate and high speed Amtrak), the mill incentives, etc etc. Many projects that were headed by the former mayor, yet is now scrapped or placed on the back burner. Let me be clear: I do not like Sue Menard. But she had better control on this city than the monkeys in office today. Fact is, she got the job done…even if she had to grease a few palms to do it. Leo and his misfits are working off of hopes and dreams.
Common Sense August 01, 2012 at 04:55 AM
I called Woonsocket home for 27yrs. I saw the direction the City was heading with the many social service agencies attracting people who are too lazy to work. I decided that my families quality of life was important to me and my hard earned money was better spent elsewhere. You have no one to blame but yourself for your lack of foresight and/or poor decision making when choosing your career path.
give me a break August 01, 2012 at 08:50 AM
gee leaves you to wonder. all these complaining tax payers would and should take that supplement for life tax bill and write on the envelope RETURN TO SENDER but won't happened. do like I did I assumed X amount of dolar for my supp. tax bill than I called a mover. bye bye taxpayers
Marc Beauregard August 01, 2012 at 09:49 AM
Make no mistake people. The supplemental tax is coming one way or another. The grandstanding that Lisa Hunt did was pathetic. Everyone should be able to see right through that. Poor Lisa cried saying she can't support it because the taxpayers can't afford another dollar. Yet on the last day/ morning of session she was negotiating with the Speaker and Governors office to lower it to 9 %. What happened to the taxpayers can't afford it? She's just like Uncle Charlie which is a Republican and a flip flopper. She used her position for her own gain. Wake up people.
John Ward Jr. August 01, 2012 at 11:07 AM
I guess you feel it's okay to drop tax increases on the unemployed and underemployed,you're the pathetic one,shaking down people that are hurting so you can live high on the hog.Don't come back with the tired argument that everyone can be cops and firefighters either,there aren't enough positions available.Who's pathetic now?Your peers in the past didn't shake people down,didn't retire after 20 years and didn't whine as much as you do.Ok,you can start with the insults now!
John Ward Jr. August 01, 2012 at 11:10 AM
Actually,i don't hang on your every comment,i do have a life and my life doesn't revolve around your biased views.Go join the Mafia shakedown man.
John Ward Jr. August 01, 2012 at 11:35 AM
I'm lovin' it taxed2death,good for you! I'm stuck here for the time being but i plan to leave,hopefully some welfare type takes my place and sucks of Woonsocket's you know what some more.I'll take my money somewhere else,they can all fight over the scraps that's left.
John Ward Jr. August 01, 2012 at 11:50 AM
Just do the job you're paid to do and stop cheerleading for more taxes.End of conversation.
John August 01, 2012 at 11:55 AM
Marc, I agree with you 100%. Lisa Baldelli-Hunt will do anything she can to destroy the reputation of the people currently in office because she wants to be Mayor. Uncle Charlie will do anything he can to help her just because he is an attention seeking leach that needs to stay relevant to feed his over-sized ego. In a time like this Hunt should put her personal aspirations aside and work with the administration to try and fix things for the good of the people that elected her not use this as an opportunity to grandstand and advance her career!
harley0011 August 01, 2012 at 01:13 PM
Oh Mr Ward I'm not cheerleading, I giving facts. If people want to get on a blog and insult us I am well within my rights to defend what we do. No argument at all. I know what I'm talking about and you sit on the outside claiming to know what you're talking about. And I will "end the conversation when I please......now the conversation is over........ Have a nice day!
harley0011 August 01, 2012 at 01:23 PM
No insults Mr. Ward, you're entitled to your opinion, however stop the grandstanding for political aspirations and be honest, unions are not to blame for the issues in this city. This city has just under 42,000 residents and 11,000 tax payers, THAT is the source of the problem. I'm simply saying be a realist. These numbers are why this city in the fiscal condition it's in, but as usual you have to blame unions. Have you thought about moving to Wisconsin......it really is lovely this time of year.
DonQ August 01, 2012 at 01:36 PM
harley0011, As long as you feel you need to respond to messages, you might want to use a little common sense. I'm fairly certain (though not positive) that the John Ward Jr. who you are trading barbs with IS NOT City Council President John Ward. Trust me, I think John Ward is the lowest form of dirt this city has ever seen. The only person worse than Ward is Fontaine ( although it is a close race). Whether I agree with you or not (which I don't) I can't see you making yourself look foolish by thinking you are fencing with Ward the councilor.
Novan for Life August 01, 2012 at 01:41 PM
Yeah but you single family homeowners hav had a 42% hmoestead exemption so that high tax rate doesn't seem so high
Novan for Life August 01, 2012 at 01:47 PM
Thats not true and she sopke about that on wpri.com why don't listen before you speak
Novan for Life August 01, 2012 at 01:53 PM
Hey don how many city council meetings have you gone to, how many school committe meetings have you gone to, how many budget commission meetings have you gone to, I only have a problem with you and nobody else because your always targeting me so how does it feel. LIKE I SAID DON'T LIKE IT DON'T READ IT DONQ (put your glasses on)
DonQ August 01, 2012 at 01:57 PM
robert lamarre jr, Other than your contempt and jealousy of single family home owners, what have you contributed to the City of Woonsocket. How many kids do you have in the Woonsocket School system that those of us who do pay taxes have to pay to educate? Hopefully, when they do graduate, they will stick around and become productive tax paying citizens. However, I wont hold my breath waiting for it to happen.
English first August 01, 2012 at 02:05 PM
Can you mention when this was done. I can't imagine the mayor was Ed director. Maybe the public safety director....
English first August 01, 2012 at 02:19 PM
Getting back to the subject. i think all "state" teacher retirements have been "frozen". This means if a teacher, who was required to put into the pension fund, who retires at 60 years of age will get a COLA raise in 15-19 years. Is that a concession? I don't think so because it was mandatory. However, so was putting into the pension system mandatory. I think. Any of you know the actual facts about this?
John August 01, 2012 at 03:09 PM
One more thing. Now that Baldelli-Hunt cried and failed to support the supplemental tax bill, instead of having a one time supplemental bill and slightly higher tax rate going forward we are now losing our 42% Homestead exemption forever!! Thank you Lisa!! I can't wait to see what you'll do as Mayor.
John August 01, 2012 at 03:12 PM
Robert, If you keep defending Baldelli-Hunt isn't Dr. Donoyann going to get jealous??
Jerry August 04, 2012 at 02:00 AM
Maybe Lisa can have a "satelite" office at "social ocean" and have a parks program for all the bums that ruin it.
Novan for Life August 04, 2012 at 02:13 AM
Why are you? or is your buddy don q in your ear
dennis bruneault August 04, 2012 at 03:12 AM
I would just like to ask a simple question. Would our whole country be in better financial shape if every American were invested in social securety and medicare instead of all these different pension and health care plans that i read about?


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