May 30, 2009

"We Can't Afford the Government that We Have"

Monique Chartier

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.

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Looks like we now know which RI municipality will win our local version of the "Vallejo Sweepstakes." Let the games begin.

Posted by: John at May 30, 2009 4:53 PM

And this is the answer that Yorke was looking for on his radio program and the OCG breakfast.

The question: "This state is no longer in the business of..."

Answer: "we are no longer in the business of keeping a government that we can no longer afford."

I heard Lombardi as he spoke those words. I wanted my heart and pulse checked at the emergency clinic because I thought I had an aneurysm. The truth is RI is just rare...unless Justin writes it, of course!!

General Assemblies reply: "Increase taxes."

Posted by: Roland at May 30, 2009 4:58 PM

Ralph, Ralph, Ralph. Someone, anyone, has to run for Sec of State and then clearly point to NP and the mess he created. Maybe it doesn't have much to do with his ability as SoS, but it does point to whose side he's on and his long-term judgement abilities.

Please Sue, run again!!

Posted by: Patrick at May 30, 2009 7:33 PM

Patrick hit the nail on the head. Many of the same people crying about the town's fiscal mess rewarded the guy who created it by putting him in statewide office.

Posted by: rhody at May 31, 2009 12:13 AM


You must be a union guy if you want Stenhouse to run again. She's 100 perent pro public sector union. She doesn't care about property tax payers.

I guess that means Warwick will be electing her mayor.

Posted by: Sauerbach at June 1, 2009 5:09 PM

Sauerbach, heh, that's pretty funny. Yeah, I'm a huge union guy. Me and Crowley are even on the same bowling team. Yeah, that's it. George Nee and I go out for Zimas together every Tuesday night.

Posted by: Patrick at June 1, 2009 8:06 PM
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