Mayor's race heats up in closing days of campaign

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In what is the hottest exchange of the mayoral campaign, Republican candidate Sue Stenhouse charged this week that Mayor Joseph Solomon and the City Council are responsible for the highest tax increase in 26 years, with Solomon countering in a statement submitted by his campaign that he finds it interesting that, as a member of the council, Stenhouse voted for tax increases.

“Last year, then Council President Solomon led the effort to level fund the FY18 budget based on the assumption there would be a 99 percent collection rate, which is nearly impossible to achieve. The fiscal woes facing our city today fall directly on his shoulders. He had no foresight, even though there were many communications and activities (such as the bargaining agreements and school committee testimony at the budget hearings) over his 18 years serving on the council, to foreshadow the funding deficit. He offered no plan, no remedies and now is accepting no accountability for his actions. He can not blame the Avedisian administration for his poor decisions,” Stenhouse said in a release.

In an interview yesterday, Solomon said he knew of Stenhouse’s comments although it wasn’t clear if he had read the release. Asked about her comments about city reserves – Stenhouse questions Solomon’s claim that they have dipped to between $13 million and $14 million – he said, “I think she’s misinformed.”

Stenhouse said, “I am also concerned about monies reported by the city’s auditing firm, Blum Shapiro, in March 2018, stating that we had a surplus of $22,566, 957 in the unrestricted fund balance. In our recent debate, Joe stated that the balance is now “dangerously low,” around $13 to $14 million. What happened to those funds? If this is the new total in that account, then Solomon and the City Council adopted a budget with a deficit of $4 to $5 million dollars or they have spent that money without public notice. We need answers!”

In his statement, Solomon said, “Just before leaving for a state job, the Avedisian administration gave false and inaccurate information regarding the fund balance, stating it was between $22 and $25 million, when, in fact, it was actually much lower. The audit that shows the discrepancy was an audit of the past fiscal year – when Ms. Stenhouse’s colleague was at the helm of the city. I would ask Ms. Stenhouse’s Republican colleague instead where that money went.”

In the interview he expanded, saying that because the audit for the prior fiscal year had not been completed, the budget was a “guesstimate,” including what was in reserves at that point.

He also put the blame on the Avedisian budget.

In the statement issued by his campaign, Solomon said, “The budget presented by the Avedisian administration, which she supported for years, for this Fiscal year level funded schools, did not address the additional $4 million in expenses related to collective bargaining agreements negotiated by the prior administration that she supports, set the city up for a structural deficit, and did not address the significant sick time expenses resulting from his side deal with the firefighters.”

In his statement, Solomon opens saying, “Clearly, Ms. Stenhouse is again showing her lack of understanding of City government. A perfect example of this is the side sick time agreement that the Avedisian administration, who she supports, reached with the firefighters outside of the scope of the ratified collective bargaining agreement. Records show that Ms. Stenhouse voted against my legislation that required contract ratification, and she voted in an attempt to uphold the veto of it.”

Stenhouse writes, “The minute Joe Solomon assumed the Mayoral seat we have utter chaos in all fiscal matters including proper school funding; the Annex redevelopment; the selling of surplus city properties; proper management of our emergency rescue service fleet; a monthly loss of income totaling nearly a quarter of a million dollars in the street lighting line item as of November – and none of these items were addressed despite the 4 percent maximum tax increase imposed on our taxpayers – the highest amount allowed by State Law.”

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richardcorrente

"Highest tax increase in 26 years." Did everyone get that?

Both candidates sat on the Council that voted for tax increases every year. Did everyone get that?

I campaigned for a thousand days in a row and spent over $40,000 of my own money to get my message, "Cut Taxes - Cut Spending", across to the Warwick Mayor and City Council. Does everyone remember that?

In the Spring of 2017 Avedisian tried to introduce 29 tax-increasing amendments and was SHOT DOWN every time by a courageous City Council that heard my message LOUDLY from their constituents. Does everyone remember that too?

Great. So do I.

Then vote for the candidate of your choice but when he or she gets elected repeat my message LOUDLY and daily.

"Cut Taxes - Cut Spending". It's what the 80,000 taxpayers that are paying the tab, deserve.

Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Rick Corrente

The Taxpayers Mayor

Thursday, November 1
CrickeeRaven

"I campaigned... Does everyone remember that?"

Everyone remembers that thousands of honest, taxpaying voters rejected the cosplay candidate's two attempts at getting elected. They remember that he spent less than $1,800 on his 2018 campaign and was soundly defeated.

"Avedisian tried to introduce 29 tax-increasing amendments..."

This is an outright lie. The amendments to the FY18 budget were submitted by the city council and reduced the proposed $300+ million budget by $750,000.

"...City Council that heard my message LOUDLY from their constituents."

This, too, is a lie. No city council member ever publicly noted the two-time election reject or his failed campaigns as reason for their vote on the FY18 budget -- which led directly to the state-capped maximum tax increase this year.

"Does everyone remember that too?"

Yes, everyone remembers how shamelessly the two-time election reject continues to repeat his lies, and are happy knowing they were 100% correct to reject his candidacy again in 2018.

Thursday, November 1
WwkVoter

Raven I think I see a pattern... Beacon publishes a news article, Within minutes Crazy Old Corrente posts the first comment bragging about himself (despite his back to back blowout losses), and attempts to use the same outright lies to support his delusion of grandeur...

Am I wrong?

Thursday, November 1
WwkVoter

Stenhouse has NOTHING to offer Warwick. And that's not even counting her cross dressing fiasco and scam she attempted to perpetrate on Cranston's residents.

Thursday, November 1
CrickeeRaven

100% on both counts, WwkVoter.

The two-time election reject has kept up his pattern of posting lie-filled and delusional comments on Beacon articles, and Stenhouse has not proven why she should be elected over Solomon.

Thursday, November 1
JustAnotherRIguy

Corrente,

I found this link very opportunistic for you:

https://www.ccri.edu/comm/courses/social_media.html

Its a Social Media Communications class at CCRI. It'll show you how to properly use social media to help your cause. This current strategy you have of complaining on a local community newspaper site isn't one you'll learn in that class.

Monday, November 5