East Providence Plan Not Good Enough
General Assembly Auditor General Ernest Almonte has rejected East Providence’s budget balancing plan (PDF):
The City of East Providence and the School Department have a well established history of deficits. Unfortunately, the City has failed to adequately resolve its financial dilemma. The current Plan is similar to prior deficit reduction plans which proposed the sale of school buildings and dedicating meals tax revenue. I find this Plan does not provide sufficient detail. It includes speculative and uncertain elements, and does not provide calculations in support of the savings you assert will be realized. A serious deficiency in your Plan involves the teachers’ union complaint pending before the Rhode Island Superior court and the State Labor Relations Board. The Plan’s failure to provide for a contingency in the event the union prevails in this litigation is unacceptable. Clearly, a ruling adverse to the City would undermine your Plan. I expect the city to address its course of action if the union prevails in this litigation. The Plan also fails to eliminate the accumulated deficit by annual appropriation, over no more than five (5) years, in equal or diminshing amounts as required by law. …
The school deficit has been accumulating for too many years and must be immediately addressed in a financially responsible fashion.
So, the school deficit must be addressed, but the city can’t count on its being done via the single greatest expense in that budget.