Changing Cranston as a Way to Save Providence?
I don’t know if GoLocal Providence‘s Dan McGowan is tied into some developing behind-the-scenes chatter, or if he is simply trying to think outside-of-the-box, but he offered a regionalization concept in this week’s Side of the Rhode column that has not yet been offered elsewhere in public with the potential immediacy of his other examples…
Get ready for more regionalization talk as cities and towns continue to struggle financially. Central Falls and Pawtucket are an obvious pairing, but how about Aquidneck Island, or maybe Providence and Cranston. If everything is on the table, this has to be an option.This example is a useful one, because it helps make the proposed benefits of regionalization clear: Providence city-hall would get to take money collected from the property taxes paid by Cranston residents, and use it to defray its out-of-control costs brought on by years of Providence mismanagement, while the impact on the services side in what is now Providence would be significantly less, as positions that are now part of Cranston could be cut from municipal government, so that Providence positions could be spared. Cranston residents, in return, would get the satisfaction of knowing the high taxes and service cuts they were experiencing were helping to payoff problems created by Providence politicians.
I don’t support radical regionalization in any form, but if I did, I would ask why Cranston/Providence makes any more sense than Cranston/Warwick or Cranston/Johnston or Cranston/Scituate. The question basically answers itself; regionalization supporters aren’t thinking about long-term benefits of regionalization in any serious manner, they are desperately searching for ways to give Rhode Island’s chronically mismanaged communities an opportunity to grab large sums of money and resources from their better-managed neighbors.
I think the real message of this is that Cranston needs to think about seceding to Kent County, in case one of these pile-driver county-based regionalization plans actually does get passed by the legislature in the near-future.