Taxes Go Up in Warwick
In Warwick this week, after all was said and done, the average homeowner will see an increase of $146 to their annual property tax bill. Ultimately, despite an attempt to cut more, the schools were level-funded, largely because–with 86% of the school budget locked in–the remaining 14% of cuts would directly affect the students. Think about that for a second: 86% of the school budget is related to contractual obligations or fixed costs (heating, electric, etc.). For his part, School Committee Chair Christopher Friel’s seemed exasperated:
“I’m just absolutely flabbergasted that all the talk about budget has centered around reducing the school department budget when the city is raising property taxes by $8.7 million and none of it is coming to the school department.”
He’s got a point, but the level-funding is going to a School department that has one less elementary school now (and 4 less over the last 2 years). That being said, it was very much a case of the City Council and the Mayor continuing to point the finger of blame at the School Committee and Administration, who lay outside of their direct control. Well, they have a point. And that’s the, um, point. There is plenty of blame to go around. Warwick is just another example of the larger systemic problem we have in the state, but all our leaders seem willing to do is nibble around the edges and wait for someone else to make the tough decisions.