“The Governor Literally Walked out of the Meeting and Said We Don’t Need a Budget Commission There, They Are Doing All the Things that a Budget Commission Would Do”

In a brief interview immediately following last night’s Woonsocket City Council meeting where the Council had voted to table a resolution asking the state to appoint a “budget commission” to deal with the city’s finances, Council President John Ward discussed how city officials have already been working with the state to do just about everything in the short term that a budget commission could do, and the direction that Woonsocket needs to move in the long term in order to deal with its fiscal situation …

Woonsocket City Council President John Ward: Myself, [Finance Director Thomas Bruce] and the Mayor went to this meeting with Rosemary Booth Gallogly and Dennis Hoyle and the Governor’s staff…we had a lengthy discussion, with the Governor in the room, talking about all of the things the city is doing…we charge $96 a year for trash collection…we’ve turned off 1/3 of the city’s street lights, because we can’t afford the $70,000…we have no parks and recreation programs, because they’ve all been cut…we have no capital spending, that’s been going on for years and years…
Audio 1m 20 sec
…it was at the tail end of the meeting, as the Governor had to leave, and he simply got up and he said to Rosemary, I understand why they don’t need a budget commission in that city, because they’re doing everything that a budget commission would do in terms of cutting costs and in terms of trying to rein in spending…
Audio 1m 56 sec
If we do the supplemental tax bill and the Governor’s budget is approved for education aid, we are probably not anywhere near a position that somebody would come in and say we’re unmanageable and we need a receivership and a bankruptcy…we have to develop strategies that will improve our tax base and bring our commercial rate down…
Audio 1m 36 sec
We’ve sort of been upset by this delaying of the process, as though we don’t know what we’re doing when, in fact, we have very limited ability to maneuver, but with what we have, we’ve done everything we can to work with the people in the state administration — who would be the people that would be managing a budget commission anyway. And by working together with the school committee and the Mayor’s office and the council and Rosemary, we are doing a budget commission’s work… Audio 48 sec

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