September 16, 2014
Rate this
City looks to finish fiscal year with $1.7M surplus

Un-audited figures are showing the city will end the 2012 fiscal year with a $1,746,038 surplus, according to Mayor Scott Avedisian. Schools say they are on track for an additional $1.6 million surplus for the 2012 fiscal year.

Avedisian said Tuesday that a combination of greater than budgeted revenues and less than projected expenses will give the city its 11th surplus during the past 12 years. Assuming the surplus is solid, it would boost the city’s unassigned fund balance from $5,981,718 to $7,749,494.

The mayor hopes rating agencies will look favorably on the increase in reserves, although, he said, at this time he has no plans to issue additional bonds. The better the rating, the less the city can expect to pay in bond interest expenses. An improved rating could also reduce taxpayer cost if the city elects to refinance any of its debt.

Still, city reserves aren’t at the levels preferred by rating agencies. As a rule of thumb, Avedisian said, agencies are looking for municipalities to set aside 12 percent of their budget.

“I can assure you that 12 percent is not going to happen,” he said. He added, “We’re at least going in the right direction.”

A reserve of $7.7 million would put the city at about 5 percent of what agencies recommend.

Expenditures for the year ending June 30 fell below the revised budget by approximately $268,169, said Finance Director Ernest Zmyslinski. Revenues came in $1,477,869 over the final revised budget.

Asked whether unions might feel they gave away too much when they agreed to no pay increases and an increase in health care co-payments, Avedisian said, if it wasn’t for the unions working with the administration there wouldn’t have been surpluses.

“Most [people] will look at it and realize if everyone gives a little, we can get to where we need to be,” he said. He termed the surplus “a welcome development” and “very positive.”

Avedisian pointed out that the preliminary audit does not include numbers from the School Department. In years past, schools have ended the fiscal year with deficits and surpluses. In the event of a deficit, the city had to cover the shortage. However, Avedisian and the City Council have insisted that the department itself reimburse those shortages, which they have been able to do in successive years of surpluses.

The practice has been for schools to retain their surpluses and carry them over to the next fiscal year. The offset, however, is that usually the administration and council account for that in budgeting for the next fiscal year.

School budget director Anthony Ferrucci pointed out that in early August the department forecast a $1.6 million surplus and, on that report, the School Committee adopted a revised $156,996,741 budget for the current year on Aug. 14. Playing it safe, that revision boosted expenses by $1.1 million, if the full $1.6 million is not realized.

Ferrucci said the department is still showing another $500,000, which he said would help offset increases won by the Warwick Teachers Union in a contract announced on Sept. 1. He said he would present the committee with another revised budget in early November, using projections based on personnel costs.

“There is no evidence that we won’t be coming in at $1.6 million [surplus for the 2012 year],” he said.


Comments
28 comments on this item

Imagine what the savings would be if the school department did their part ???? They are very very greedy. They shouldn't get a penny more from the city. If they finish in the red too bad, it's their fault, their problem. The school budget is extremely large and it is what is burdening most states across the nation. I hope they realize what they are doing to this nation !!! Talk about selfish. Kudos to fire,police, and municiple workers for giving up a lot over the past fews years from what I've read.

What a joke....Scottie's scam again...it wasn't the unions that created the surplus but the overtaxed taxpayers that made it happen. Why doesn't Scottie tell people how much the city owes in unfunded pensions and healthcare ?

In a few years we will see what Scottie's mismanagement has cost us.

Fedup your such a joke... Even when the facts don't lie you still spew negative garbage. Crawl back into your basement troll. Also tell me your address so I can send a case of Kleenex to help with those tears...

I'm still waiting for you to move to Florida...

Hey Stevie,,,,,go back to the firehouse and rest like usual....before you do though go to Dave's Market but make sure you keep the fire truck running

I don't shop at Dave's. but thanks for the advice.

Stevie who are you kidding...you're like all the firemen....nothing to do but shop at the supermarket....make sure though you hide the truck behind the building so you can think you are fooling the public....your fire chief doesn't have the guts to say anything....an avedisian lapdog

Michael2012, The school department budget has been level or reduced funded since 2008. The city cut the funding 5% a total of $6.2 million during one year and has level funded the schools since. This is 4 years without an increase in funding. If the city budget also did not increase in the last 4 years, the taxpayers would not have had a tax increase in the last 4 years.

any way you want to look at the numbers the bottom line is this;

1.) when the other unions were given back money the teachers were not

2.) the teachers are getting raises

3.) Are the teachers still only paying 11 dollars a week for medical ???? or did that slightly rise, and I mean slightly.

So you can claim poverty with the school system dating back to 08 but the bottom line is this, no more money for them unless it is spent on the children !!! The teachers make plenty of money, have wonderful benefits, and more time off than any one except for the unemployed.

so spare me the sob story with their budget because 75-80 percent of every tax dollar goes to the school budget. That is unsustainable. When folks were hammering the police, fire, and city workers, the teachers lurked in the darkness and were untouched. Why? oh the children. Well the children and the tax payers are getting screwed.

Am I bitter, perhaps. But as a tax payer I should be.

Michael2012,

Your numbers are way off. Your 75-80% amount of every tax dollar goes to the school budget is wrong.

Here is a quick example:

The local school budget

In 2008 was $118.6 Million.

In 2009, $118.6,

In 2010 an increase to 123.97 (due to Federal Stimulus funds),

In 2011 back down to $117.77 and

In 2012, the budget was $117.77. This is a decrease from 2008 to 2012 with and extra amount in 2010 due to Federal Stimulus money.

Looking at the City budget during the same time:

2008: $67.6 Million

2009: $76.15 Million

2010: $78.53 Million

2011: $89.32 Million

2012: $96.39 Million.

So from 2008 to 2012 the schools went from $118.6 million to $117.7 Million and the city went from $67.6 Million to $96.39 Million. You can find all this information online at the Secretary of State website.

As you can see the schools have been fiscally conservative over the 4 year period from 2008-2012 and the city has increased spending by nearly a third during the same time frame.

The WISE union and teachers union were the FIRST to go to 20% co-pay leading the way for the city to make a similar move. I'm not bashing the police, fire or municipal side at all but the fact is, the schools have made cuts for each of the last few years. You don't see it in the beacon because the Beacon is so PRO-Mayor Avedisian that to make anyone look good is to make the Mayor look bad.

This is from August 2010:

http://www.wpri.com/dpp/news/local_news/west_bay/warwick-teacher-contract-controversy

The teacher's union fought this but then agreed to no increase in pay and volunteered to pay a 20% co-pay for one year saving Warwick Taxpayers nearly $3.5 Million. The teachers have been paying 20% for benefits for 2 years now. I am glad the city is finally making the same move. I really would be happy to sit down with you to show you all the things we were able to accomplish over the last 4 years.

Patrick

Didn't know shopping was illegal. That's news to me. Again thanks for your input fed up we will take it under advisement while we all sit around and do nothing.

I question some of that. The teacher's union were first to go to 20%?, but weren't the other unions paying something like 15% before that while the teachers were still at 7% ? Tell the entire story, you are very good a deceiving by using dates and numbers. Furthermore, look at your so called generous savings. It all is temporary !! Agreeing to 1 year, agreeing to 2 years. I do believe the other unions gave back wages a few years ago and the teachers held status quo. This is based on my following the beacon articles over the years.

I know how the numbers can be manipulated to make it look all in good when in realility on the back side all those savings are given right back !

Still, the school budget is much higher than the entire rest of the city. So, one dept. has the majority of the budget. The school budget should be more in line with the other budgets. I'd like to see the budget drop down to 96 million.

What about the grades and test results ? Toll Gate which is the best Warwick has to offer was ranked something like 15th in the state I believe if memory serves me in a recent survey in the projo.

Hi Michael2012,

Actually, prior to any concessions, the teachers paid $11 and city employees paid $14. For family coverage, I think both paid $28. Both of these amounts are very low.

As far as teacher co-pay being temporary, in a way you are right, but they never returned to the lower contribution and we have locked in the savings with our last contract. So what was initially a temporary concession became a permanent concession.

The first union in the city to go to 20% was the WISE (Warwick Independent School Employees) Union. They have been at that amount since they switched to the higher co-pay. The teachers agreed to a temporary 20% for one year but locked in at 20% in the last contract. The reason the school budget is higher is because we have so many more employees than the city and many more buildings too. If we have 1/3 more buildings and 1/3 more employees, doesn't it make sense to have a budget that is 1/3 higher. I think the important thing to do is compare the city to other cities and the schools with other school districts in RI. We still have a lot to do and we always will look for a way to get savings.

I am happy the city worked with the city employees for savings. I am happy the schools found additional savings. Are we done? Definitely not. Are we moving in the right direction for the taxpayers? Yes.

As far as numbers being able to be manipulated and giving savings back, all the school savings are actual savings without givebacks. We closed schools, made personnel cuts and raised co-share payments. That is all real savings. More needs to be done.

Our school performance in high school testing is not something to celebrate. Do we want to improve? Yes. Do I believe throwing money at the problem will fix it? Absolutely NOT! We have a new evaluation system being launched, RIDE and the Dept of Ed is rolling out a new performance evaluation system for the kids too that we be able to find out which kids are falling behind earlier so they can get them help. Parents need to be more involved and communicate their concerns too.

Finally, if I was trying to deceive anyone, would I be posting at all on the beacon website for everyone to see using my real full name? I would choose to not reply and hide. I'm here and available and I say it the way it is, maloneyp@warwickschools.org. I am not going to bash the city even though I feel there are many things that could have and can be done better. I am glad Warwick is looking at a surplus on both the city and school side. Perhaps, there will be no need to raise taxes the full amount allowed by law, as they have every year for the last 10 years. Ask yourself this question. If the school funding has not gone up at all from 2008 to 2012, why did the city raise our taxes every year the full amount allowed by law each year? Where did the money go? It went to the city side. I'm not asking for more and I don't expect more. I do expect the city to make similar savings and stop, for once, to stop raising taxes. If the taxes stop being raised each year, maybe more people will move here and there will be more people paying for services. With more people here paying, the tax base would be larger and the cost would be spread out more. This would help everyone. The airport is getting larger, Rocky Point is not being developed, no one is moving in and people are leaving. A perfect example is the fact that there are less kids in school. There aren't just less kids, there are less people. Less people paying taxes leaving the rest of us to foot the bill.

Patrick Maloney

Mr Maloney.

It's simple. Less students should mean less expense or at the same expense since other expenses go up.

You talk about the city's level funding of the school department but the school departemnt surpuses.

You failed to mention the fact that the school committee requested tax increases; $6 million last year and $4 million this year. Luckly the council didn't grant your request.

Isn't it true that when the school committee did get the $6 million they sued for it? Lucky the court saw the folly of the suit.

Isn't it true that the f cranston school departemnt's budget is much lower than warwick while there are less students and buildings.

Oh, let's see how much the settlement with the superintendent will cost the school department. I sure the agreeemnt will be confidential so the details will taxpayersbe hidden from the yaxpayer. By the way, the way the School Committee treated the superintendent was shameful.

Mr. Maloney, you can spin your position as much as you want but people are smarter than you think. I've read comments that are just not true. I've read your comment that the enrollment is 12,000 when it's barely 10,000. Maybe your using weighting figures as you like weighting. You said the city has raised taxes to the maximum for the last 10 years and that is completely false. The increase this year was 2.5%. Why are you trying to mislead the public with the blatently false statement.

Wow- The Mayor has trolls out on the Warwick Beacon Website . Go figure.. A Hack you can't get elected, Former fireman looking out for his pension. Thanks for the truth Patrick and fedup1 I know where the money goes and you is benefiting from the tax increase.. The City and that why the trolls are on this website. How can the city have a surplus every elected? Fizzy Math when you should be putting away 26 million a year for heathcare or the city owes 800 million. So let use that number and the budget to balance just what we owe, By just keeping the Tax office open only and still collecting taxes..

For three years without any services just to pay what is owed.

No Police

No firefighter

No Schools

No trash

No Water

No Sewer

No Senoir service

No Snower removal

No Road repair

The list could go on and on.. So like most households that have to pay their bills, what do they do? Cut back , do without until the bills are caught up or you get a better hold on there expenses.. But what does government do? RAISE TAXES. So do we use the President Harding way to getting are expenses under control. Cut government by 50%, will that work? Yes and it did ,Harting plan was the biggest growth for the middleclass in the last hundred years the Roaring Twenties . But I don't think the entitled would do this to help everyone. Could Steve D live on half of he pension? Or Would he? I don't know the of the first question, But I know the answer of the second NO.. But if you do what Steve D wants you to, Move away.

Well let say that what happens and 50 % of the people who paying the Taxes move to Flordia. Then He would have to live on 50% of his pension, I am not picking on Steve D or do I know him, But just you his words for my point. This has been happening the years and will continue until you have more collecting then paying.. It may not be in the next year or two but when it does , Who will be the first one in line complaining? Not the person that has left the State... I hope that I am one of those who can get out of this State before this happens.. I know Steve will be happy but not when he gets half his check.. So don't fix the problem, wait until you can't..

Schwanee, It's very hard to understand anything about your post. Try a little spell check or proofreading please.

Hi GordianKnot,

I don't know how long ago I posted that we had 12000 students, but I am sure it must have been when I first got on the committee in 2008. I know the numbers are lower now than at that time. having less students does not mean less expenses. If we lost one or two students from every class in each school, we could lose several hundred students. Do we get to let any teachers go to see a savings? No, we do not and the expense to teach one less student per classroom remains exactly the same. It is only through consolidation of schools after student enrollment declines that a savings can be realized. The school committee voted to close schools to find the savings.

The surpluses the school had for the last 2 years were due to the Federal Stimulus funds. If it wasn't for the stimulus funds we would have been level or had a deficit. One thing is sure, prior to my arrival on the committee there were 2 years of deficit to the tune of $3.2 Million. I helped pay back all the money and we have had a surplus each year. We also closed several schools and have laid off or had retirements equal to near 20 teachers each year. WISE staff and administration has taken on additional responsibilities to cover people who have left or been laid off.

Stimulus and surplus money was also used to fix school buildings. Buildings owned by the city that the schools are required to maintain.

I will still not comment on Mr. Horoschak as it is a personnel issue. I am sure if there was a situation at your employer you would not want to details put in the newspaper or online. When everything is said and done, I would be happy to disclose any information as long as it does not break any Human Resources policies or RI or Federal laws. I would not want to create a situation that could put Warwick in a legal jeopardy.

Yuo are putting words in my mouth when you say that I like weighting. I am not in favor of weighting. I am in favor of making sure all of our students have a fair and reasonable chance at getting an education. Every city has additional services for special needs students. I did not create weighting it was here long before I was on the committee. I worked to reduce weighting at the middle school level and we did reduce the weighting. If we did get rid of weighting, we would have to do what every other city does, hire additional teachers for special education classes and/ or have additional classroom teacher assistants to help. Either way, it seems to me that we would have a similar cost. What is your solution for educating special education students that are in the same classrooms as non-special education students? Would you stick all special education students in their own classroom and hire additional teachers and aids?

And as far as you saying the maximum tax increase was not a full increase, that does not seem correct to me and here is why. We paid for a car tax without as high as an exemption. Our previous exemption was $5000 (I think). That was lowered to $500 and then raised. For the first time in years I had to pay taxes on my 18 Year old car. I paid the taxes that year and was so infuriated to have to pay taxes on it at all that I sold it. Taxes on our homes were set to be the max and when the car tax revenue came in they lowered the percentage of the taxes on your house. So if you want to tell yourself that your taxes were not the maximum they could be then that is fine. There was an article in the Beacon that said, Warwick lowered the property tax because the car tax made up the revenue. A tax is a tax. If you re-read what you wrote, you said they raised the taxes 2.5%, add in the Car tax and there you go.

Are you satisfied that they ONLY went up 2.5%? I DO NOT WANT THE TAXES TO GO UP AT ALL. As far as asking for the amounts that we ask for, I know we are not going to get an increase. I ask for what I believe is the correct amount. And here is where you are the one spinning the truth. When the school committee asked for an ADDITIONAL $6 million, it was really just the level funded amount from the year before. We asked for LEVEL funding because the city lowered our allocation $6.2 million. So if they give $6 million less and we ask for the same amount, this is where the Beacon twists the headline to read "School committee asks for an increase of $6 million".

You and I have gone back and forth several times over the years on the Warwick Beacon site. As always, you can email me to set up an appointment to discuss this further. I would welcome the opportunity. If you would instead like to continue to hide behind a screen name and spin lies to make me look bad, that is your prerogative.

As far as answering the question about why Warwick and Cranston have similar number of students and different amounts for education, I have answered this question multiple times online. Here are 2 reasons and there are more.

1) Warwick has an airport in the middle of the city. We do have more students and we have much more Sq miles than Cranston so we have to transport students around the airport. We require more busses too. Each bus is approximately $55,000 to have on the road. If we have 10 more busses, that is an additional $550,000 (a half million dollars).

2)In 2011, Cranston had 16% of their students enrolled in Special Education. Warwick has 21%. We have 5% more special education students than Cranston. Let's say just for this argument that both Warwick and Cranston each have 10,000 students. Warwick has 2100 Special education students. Cranston has 1600 Special education students. We have 500 more special education students than Cranston. The average cost to educate a special education student in RI is between $25000 and $75000 depending on the needs of the child. Let's take the average, $50,000 and I will even lower it to $40,000 since we have less severely disabled students. $40,000 times 500 is $20,000,000. This is a $25,500,000 difference. The argument I usually hear is that Warwick must be putting more students in Special education than really needs to be there. Warwick doesn't choose who is in Special education, State and federal laws determine this. I believe the reason we have more Special education students is because it is known throughout RI that we have a good education program for Special Education students.

The fact is people move to a city because of the good schools not because they have a great, but expensive sewer system in place. I was surprised last year when we spent $2 million to fix one sewer problem and used the rainy day fund to do it and no one screamed about it but when the roof at Pilgrim was pouring water through it and needed to be fixed for $2 million people commented on it. I want the best schools in the state and we are not there. We need them to be better so we can get more people to move here.

I love Warwick and I am working hard to make it a better place.

Patrick Maloney

maloneyp@warwickschools.org

The information I used came from www.rikidscount.org. This is an excellent independent resource that has tons of research for people to compare. I compared the most recent information for Warwick and Cranston. Here is the link:

http://www.rikidscount.org/matriarch/MultiPiecePage.asp_Q_PageID_E_105_A_PageName_E_DataIntro

Just use the drop down menu to choose your city or town and compare it to others.

Patrick Maloney

Here is #2 explanation again for the difference between Warwick and Cranston budgets, one of my numbers were off:

2)In 2011, Cranston had 16% of their students enrolled in Special Education. Warwick has 21%. We have 5% more special education students than Cranston. Let's say just for this argument that both Warwick and Cranston each have 10,000 students. Warwick has 2100 Special education students. Cranston has 1600 Special education students. We have 500 more special education students than Cranston. The average cost to educate a special education student in RI is between $25000 and $75000 depending on the needs of the child. Let's take the average, $50,000 and I will even lower it to $40,000 since we have less severely disabled students. $40,000 times 500 is $20,000,000. This is a $20,550,000 difference. The argument I usually hear is that Warwick must be putting more students in Special education than really needs to be there. Warwick doesn't choose who is in Special education, State and federal laws determine this. I believe the reason we have more Special education students is because it is known throughout RI that we have a good education program for Special Education students.

Patrick

According to Wikipedia:

"The Gordian Knot is a legend of Phrygian Gordium associated with Alexander the Great. It is often used as a metaphor for an intractable problem solved easily by cheating or "thinking outside the box". ("cutting the Gordian knot"):

"Turn him to any cause of policy,

The Gordian Knot of it he will unloose,

Familiar as his garter" (Shakespeare, Henry V, Act 1 Scene 1. 45–47)"

I agree that we must think outside the box to sometimes find the solutions to our problems.

We now have a debate who spends more money...the school dept or the city. As an overtaxed resident let me say they both overspend. The benefits city workers and teachers get are ridiculous.

Scottie has driven the city to bankruptcy and Rosemary Healey has driven the school dept into the ground.

PS Stevie D ...how many trips to Dave's market has the fire trucks made today. Love to see firemen there shopping with nothing to do. I guess that's why their benefits are killing us.

Hey Fedup, tell me what is wrong with shopping? The fire department needs to eat as well, they are forced to work many hours in a row. The city is currently down more than 20 positions. The men/women are working 24/48 hr shifts. The city failed to hire when they could.

PS. Stop by when I'm working ill show you just how much standing around we do. You really are an A$$ to think we don't do anything!!!!!!! If you had to spend one minute in some of the CPR/fire people trapped/drowning(s) yes I had three this summer/accidents ( multiple casualties) etc.... I don make fun of you work. You have no idea what we deal with on a daily basis. Don't pretend you do!!!! If you had the stones you would show up for 1 day.....

It is not a question about who spends more money, it is a question of who spends less. Really, the question that should be asked is: Are the taxpayers getting a good return on the money they are spending?

This is really not a debate. I am just answering the questions people are asking.

wow so many unhappy people

Steve D.....I'm so sick of hearing the firemen whine about how tuff their job is. I thought you volunteered....you are certainly overpaid for what you do.If you are so unhappy quit...1000 applicants will be at the door tomorrow.

Why don't you stop by Dave's with the boys and buy some extra food....might make life easier. Make sure to keep the trucks running.

They just had applications why didn't you pick one up. Sorry no 1000 people here more like 200. FEDUP you still haven't answered what is illegal about shopping?

Stevie D....you and the boys can shop all you want on your time but don't shop on the taxpayer's time especially considering the ridiculous money we pay the firemen.

We should privatize the fire dept immediately and save the taxpayers millions.

How is it wasting time? We pay for our own food. How about on our 30 minute lunch break we go and get our food? Oh I forgot we do not get a break.... Your privatization talk is funny! What is the name of that private company that does fire fighting? As for volunteers, NO ONE WANTS TO DO IT!!!!!

You must be logged in to post a comment. Click here to log in.
Welcome to RIjobs.com
Copyright © 2014, Beacon Communications. Powered by: Creative Circle Advertising Solutions, Inc.