Friday, June 22, 2012
The state-appointed Budget Commission approved Woonsocket's $122-million budget proposal, but continues to look for cuts and more revenue. Public safety vacancies are left unfilled.
Woonsocket has not escaped the possibility of a property tax hike, and homeowners could see the biggest increase, if the Budget Commission follows through on ideas discussed Thursday afternoon. One item on the table: a phase-out of the city's homestead exemption, a program that reduces tax bills for homeowners. "It won't disappear in one fell swoop," City Assessor Christopher Celeste said after the meeting. "Right now it's 42 percent, and that would kill people." The five-member budget commission, appointed by the state earlier this month to take over city finances, must find ways to raise revenue and reduce spending in an effort to balance the city's books and avoid bankruptcy. They were appointed to take the reins after state reps. Jon…
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Municipal bankruptcy is not a good option for Woonsocket or any city.
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Members decide to wait for General Assembly's decision on supplemental tax.
Councilman Dan Gendron announced a change of heart Monday night, moving that the Woonsocket City Council table the proposal that they ask for a budget commission. Most of the rest of the council voted to put the request on a back burner. The only holdout was Councilman Albert Brien. He was in favor of a vote on the issue, he said, but only so he could vote 'No'. "I am against a budget commission at any time," Brien said. Gendron and the other members of the council were not as fervent in their reluctance to ask for state intervention, but most were wary of asking for the state to step in if it wasn't as a last resort. "We do not have the option of asking them to leave," Gendron said, and a budget commission could end up running the city'…
Thursday, May 3, 2012
Draft budget will be ready May 11, Committee declines to ask for Donoyan's ouster.
Tom Sweeney of B&E Consulting reported he'll have a draft FY 2012-13 budget ready for the Woonsocket School Committee early on May 11, too late to meet a new deadline for delivering the document to the city. Instead, the School Committee is planning to have the budget ready for the city by May 14. The May 11 deadline was agreed to on Monday by City Council President John Ward and School Committee Chair Anita Forcier-McGuire. Ward asked the School Committee on Monday to fire Donoyan if she didn't deliver a budget by that time. The School Committee didn't do that, and didn't acknowledge that part of Ward's resolution during the meeting. After, neither Forcier-McGuire nor Committee Vice Chair Vimala Phongsavanh said they were considering …
Thursday, March 29, 2012
Some committee members believe school employees have broken state laws in incurring a $10 million deficit.
There will be no state police investigation of the Woonsocket Education Department's $7-million budget shortfall, despite assertions by two School Committee members that some past employees may have violated state laws. At Wednesday night's meeting, the committee voted 3-2 against requesting a police probe, with only Christopher Roberts and chairwoman Anita Mcguire Forcier in favor. Committee member Vimala Phongsavanh used the discussion to denounce the name calling and fingerpointing that in recent weeks has become common at Woonsocket public meetings. "This feeds a culture of hate and revenge," she said. "These mistakes didn't happen overnight. I'm exhausted from blaming everyone we can think of. We've been making headline news for …
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Angry residents vent their outrage at the City Council, some even calling for "revolution."
If the assessed value of your Woonsocket home is somewhere near $150,000, you could soon be paying another $470 or more in taxes this year. Should the City Council and the state legislature both give their approval, the city will soon be sending out supplemental tax bills that seek an extra $3.15 for every $1,000 of assessed residential property value. The supplemental tax would also tack on $4.51 for commercial property, and $5.81 for motor vehicles. The extra tax — which some have dubbed "the fifth quarterly bill" — wasn't on the agenda when the City Council met Monday night, but it took up most of the session. The details of the plan are already widely known around the city, and close to 100 residents packed the meeting to offer …