“We Can’t Afford the Government that We Have”
So said Mayor Lombardi yesterday morning on the John DePetro Show. While the comment might also apply to our state and federal governments, in actuality, it referred to the status of the town of North Providence.
Indeed, one has to wonder what the town’s options are at this point to deal with a $10 million shortfall for the fiscal year that ends next month.
It turns out that town officials have no easy way to cut expenditures by re-opening contracts, not even if they hand the town over to the state.
[Auditor General Ernest A.] Almonte told [Council President Joseph Burchfield] that state officials would have no special advantages, such as an ability to reopen contracts, if they take control of North Providence’s finances.
In recent days, Burchfield and others, including Mayor Charles A. Lombardi, have wondered if a takeover could be one way to cut spending that’s contractually protected or required by state mandates.
And they can’t increase revenue enough to cover those contracts. An earlier request by the town to bust the cap and increase property taxes was nixed by the Senate.
While one sympathizes, one also has to wonder about the reasoning process that led North Providence solons, current and prior, to execute contracts that placed the town in this untenable position.