State of city perilous, says Mayor Solomon

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During an unprecedented Warwick “State of the City” address last week, Mayor Joseph Solomon delved into fiscal details that outlined a highly troubling reality facing the city, which includes a looming structural deficit upwards of $18.6 million this coming budget season, unresolved contracts with the fire department and growing expenses in the school department – none of which have immediately apparent answers.

“At this moment, the city is ailing, with a poor prognosis for the immediate future,” said Solomon from the podium set up at Warwick Veterans Middle School – as the City Hall chambers continue to be renovated after sustaining water damage.

It was a sobering change of tone from Solomon, who for the most part in his first year of being mayor – since stepping into the role in an interim capacity last May and being duly elected this past November – has maintained a message of overall optimism regarding the city’s outlook while noting its challenges.

In the hour-long address, Solomon painted a picture that pointed a clear finger of blame towards Scott Avedisian, who spent the past 18 years as the lead executive of Warwick and departed to take the top job at the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority in the midst of his final term.

Solomon criticized the “maintenance budget” that Avedisian left, which level-funded various departments (like the schools). Solomon said that this budget left a $7.4 million structural deficit within it that failed to account for the need of a new collective bargaining agreement with the fire department (no such agreement has been reached), rising costs within the schools, fringe benefit cost increases for city employees and counted on unrealized savings from projects that hadn’t been realized yet – such as a streetlight LED conversion program that hadn’t been actualized.

Solomon also criticized the actual status of the city’s rainy day fund – the reserve account composed of many years’ worth of surpluses that serves as insurance against one-time, unexpected expenses. According to Solomon, at the time of him taking office the reserve fund had been advertised as between $22-25 million. In actuality, he said, it stands closer to $13-14 million.

“In short, in the many years leading up to my being sworn into office as mayor, our community had been led to believe that we were sailing along on calm, tranquil waters,” Solomon said. “Instead, the reality is that we have been heading straight into a perfect storm, without proper warning, preparedness or safeguards.”

Solomon referenced how he brought in the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council to investigate the financial health of the city and its operations. He said they assisted in “restructuring” the finance and treasury departments and are now working with other departments in the city as well.

However, when asked about whether he had based his statements on reports from RIPEC following the address, Solomon said that there was no report regarding the city’s financial health that had been finalized yet. Ed Ladouceur, chair of the council finance committee, said Monday he had not seen the audit for the fiscal year ending 2018 but he is confident in the numbers Solomon presented in his address. He also noted that the audit ordered by the council last spring has not been finalized.

The Beacon has filed Access to Public Records Act requests in order to obtain any financial reports – preliminary or otherwise – that have been received by the council or the mayor’s office.

Avedisian responds

In a release sent out by his press secretary at the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority, Scott Avedisian responded to the criticism thrown his way in the address, indicating that Solomon and the all-Democratic City Council should shoulder some of the blame for the financial situation they find themselves in.

“The Democrats, including several incumbents, had complete control of the Council and could have done anything they wanted,” Avedisian said in the statement. “For them to say that I did this and they did not know about it is ludicrous.”

Avedisian cited that during the budgetary process for the FY18 budget, he had proposed a tax increase along with $3 million in reserve funds. However, as reported by the Beacon on June 6, 2017, the Council voted to cut $5 million and used $1.2 million in reserve funding in order to approve a budget that did not require a property tax increase.

“As a result, the Fiscal 2018 budget year began with a $6.2 million hole that they created – not me,” Avedisian wrote, adding that a year after the no tax increase, they raised the tax rate the maximum allowable by law and took an additional $3.8 million from the fund reserve.

“That adds up to $10 million in expenses that the Council never properly budgeted for,” Avedisian wrote.

Avedisian was also critical of the accusation that he was responsible for improperly funding the school department in the FY19 budget proposal he left Solomon before departing for the job at RIPTA, as the Council opted to fund only $1.5 million of the school department’s $8.1 million need and, instead, allocated $5 million towards a road paving initiative.

On Monday Avedisian said the RIPTA press secretary was not at work Friday and had issued the statements from home. He said all future calls relating to his tenure in Warwick should be made to him personally and not through his office at RIPTA.

Addressing “fictitious” information

Ladouceur defended the council and their fiscal decisions made in the past few years on Monday, saying that they could only work off the information they received from Avedisian and his department heads, including the assessment that the city had as much as $22-25 million in reserve funds when the actual number discovered and reported by Solomon was closer to $12-13 million.

Ladouceur said that the council would have approached the no tax increase budget of FY18 differently if they had the information they possess now.
“You can’t make changes about anything you’re not privy to or not aware of,” he said. “If we all had hindsight, certain decisions would be made differently. Back two cycles ago we made decisions based on the info we were privy to and based on the information that we saw.”

“This is not being political, it’s being factual,” Solomon followed up with on Monday regarding the figures he brought to light in the State of the City. “The numbers don’t lie.” He agreed that the council “would have approached things differently” in regards to the no tax increase during FY18 had they known the information they know now.

“We hope the information we get is reliable and accurate,” he continued. “The more side agreements that come to the surface, the lack of funding for raises the prior administration helped negotiate, that indicates someone was not at the wheel at the time of steering this vehicle down the road.”

Here, Solomon is referring to the school department again. He argues that Avedisian inserted himself into mediation attempts between the school administration and teachers’ union in order to broker a deal that would end the prolonged contractual dispute that had been ongoing for years. However, Solomon adds that Avedisian failed to include any funding mechanism to deal with the millions in labor cost increases that this deal would have on the city.

During his address, Solomon said he had already begun “taking a very close look at all departmental functions and am digging into the numbers,” and was supportive of zero-based budgeting, “where each line item starts at zero and any allocations associated with it must be vigorously defended.”

Solomon confirmed on Monday that the city would be utilizing the zero-based budgeting tactic in order to try and solve the large looming deficit, and would be asking for large spending decreases from unspecified departments across the city.

“I’ve requested other departments a reduction in areas of 5 percent cut in spending if we can. Everyone is going to have to tighten their belt to deal with the foundation that the prior administration left,” he said. “By approaching it that way, everything is on the table, everything is transparent, and transparency is one of the key pledges of my administration in its service to the citizens of this city.”

Ladouceur agreed with this methodology.

“That’s something the mayor’s going to push forward with and I agree with that and support that,” he said on zero-based budgeting. “We’re going to continue to do our due diligence and look at every item we can look at, just as we have been doing. There’s going to be certain wish list items that we can’t approve because we simply can’t afford it.”

Ladouceur added that the while the current outlook appears dark, and while it will not be a “painless” process to get through, he has confidence in Solomon and his colleagues on the Council to address the issues and steer the city back onto a good path.

“There’s a lot of work ahead, and we’re up to it. Mayor Solomon, given the situation we’ve inherited, I can’t think of anyone more qualified than he is to be in that corner office. We’ve got an extremely confident, motivated city council,” he said. “It’s a big challenge, it’s not going to be painless. Nobody is trying to give anyone that impression.”

As Mayor Solomon did in his address – sandwiching the doom and gloom fiscal reality between heaping layers of praise for the city of Warwick’s economical and business development and policy improvements he has made since he assumed the mayor’s office – Ladouceur opted to also search for the bright side in the situation.

“We have our share of doom and gloom, but we also have our share of bright spots,” he said, citing the recent sale of the former Christopher Rhodes School as an example of due diligence that resulted in a positive outcome for the city. “We have some even brighter spots in the day ahead. Challenging, yes, but also exciting, I think it is. I’m really happy I’m part of the team that is going to be able to move forward in the future and play a role in the exciting part as well.”

Solomon finished his thoughts on a sunnier note as well on Monday.

“I’m not going to let this defeat us as a city,” he said. Everyone is contributing towards the resolution of this financial tsunami that we were left with. What we’re going to do is proceed on a positive note based on actual numbers, as opposed to fictitious numbers.”

With reports from John Howell

Comments

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Ben Dover

A great many indictments, then, Chapter 9...Have a nice day. It's time voters looked in the mirror as co-conspirators.

Tuesday, March 5
richard corrente

Let's face it.

MANY people can be credited for predicting this mess. Avedisian wasn't very careful to hide what was really going on. When David Laplant stole hundreds of items by buying them with the City-of-Warwick checking account it proved only one of two things.

1. Avedisian knew - in which case he is an accomplice to massive theft, or

2. Avedisian didn't know - in which case he had people stealing right under his nose and didn't see it.

Either way, Avedisian HAD TO GO! And he did.

Let's now focus on the present and the future. The only question readers should ask is this: Are we better off today? I think we are. Much better off than when Avedisian was Mayor. Much. Our Council, our School Committee and our Mayor are better. So is our future.

Happy St. Patricks everyone.

Rick Corrente

The Taxpayers Mayor

Tuesday, March 5
Hillsgrove Hal

richard corrente, today, you say: "Let's now focus on the present and the future."

Yet this is what you wrote 5 days ago after I made that exact suggestion: "You don't want anyone looking at Avedisians dealings? Why not? You say that Mayor Solomon should "quit talking about the past and get to work!" Why?... Does Avedisian (and/or you) have something to hide?????"

You also made a number of even more idiotic accusations that I will not repeat here.

One thing I'm learning about you: Given enough time, you'll wind up arguing with yourself.

Tuesday, March 5
PaulHuff

The schtick of blaming the past mayor for everything when Mr. Solomon and Mr. Merolla have been on the council for 20 years is getting really old.

Tuesday, March 5
davebarry

How about you do something unique and NOT raise taxes to solve this. (You are all to blame btw). CUT CUT CUT expenditures. When is the last time an analysis was done of the needs for:

# of Firefighters. (Don't take their work for it).

# of police. Crime rate is way down. Far less bars and drugs in Warwick than in the 80s. Violent crime is way, way down.

# of teachers. We've been closing schools but we still have too many teachers.

Also, STOP giving the unions a 3% raise every damned year. We cannot afford it. It has a domino effect with their pensions.

Tuesday, March 5
wwkvoter

ben has a point, as does hal...

crazy corrente "daily delusion" that of ALL THINGS avedisian should have known about he cites the one major thing that he shouldn't, a matter of school oversight that is not the purview of the city council or the mayor. The process does not even allow the City to oversee expenditures within the school department at a level that would have revealed the theft in the maintenance department. That was a school department problem, and thankfully it is solved even though some of us would have liked to see actual jail time instead of a typical Rhode Island "suspended sentence" and "restitution" who knows if we taxpayers will ever get.

Tuesday, March 5
Cat

What is important is the results of his zero-based budgeting. What we need to see is the proof that all the departments have a 5% reduction in spending. Action rather than words.

Tuesday, March 5
richard corrente

Dear daveberry,

You're right to want to "Cut Taxes".

Cat,

You're right to want to "Cut Spending".

Happy St. Patricks everyone.

Rick Corrente

The Taxpayers Mayor

Tuesday, March 5
Thecaptain

Well folks, you may want to watch this video, particularly the final minute where the council president admits that the FEDS have questioned him about Warwick. Guess HEY JIMMY, was clearly wrong, AGAIN!

https://www.wpri.com/fox-providence/dan-yorke-state-of-mind/34-warwick-council-president-steve-merolla-talks-issues-with-the-city-s-finances-on-state-of-mind/1828253792

Tuesday, March 5
Jimmy

Captain,

I know what I know, am I wrong, you may think so. I stand by my statement that the FBI is not investigating the city. I think the council pres is lying. Why? I have no idea, maybe he is pushing the issue because he doesn’t want to release the audit. You can say whatever you want I have seen ZERO FBI agents in the city. Not one file, box, person with knowledge of anything has been called. It’s completely irresponsible for the leadership of this city to continue to push this false narrative. Believe what you will, I can tell you with 100% there is no investigation. He said they called him around the first of the year. That means two months have gone by and they have done nothing to look into this. Anyone that believes this is a fool. I’ve said it before I wish there was an investigation because then these politicians would be held accountable. I love the whole thing.

Tuesday, March 5
Thecaptain

HEY JIMMY,

Are you that much of a fool to think that an elected official who is a lawyer by trade would go on a TV show and purposely make up a story that he had been contacted by the feds? Really? For what reason would he do that and what would he have to gain? But YOU know everything right? Because YOU - JIMMY- havent seen an FBI agent, you are the one person that knows all and that we should believe. You are a joke.

Tuesday, March 5
Jimmy

Captain,

Why would he say that you ask, because he will never be fact checked. Months from now when no one or report is ever seen from the FBI because there won’t be one, he just moves on. The FBI will never come outvabd say there wasn’t an investigation.

Secondly, they are not an undercover organization. If they were going through files at HQs or city hall it would be all over the news. NONE OF THAT IS HAPPENING. You are in fantasy land.

I love this whole thing because the bigger the story they make this the more they will have to answer when it all falls apart. But again don’t take my word for it. Time will tell.

Tuesday, March 5
Jimmy

If an audit showed the Union defrauded the city of of millions as you say The council would put that in the paper immediately. Why won’t they do that?

Tuesday, March 5
Samuel

Merolla is an idiot and a weasel and a prime example of why we need term limits. H's been there all these years and has accomplished squat. He plays both ends against the middle.

Tuesday, March 5
Patient Man

It may be a good idea to start setting up a process for bankruptcy. It's clear, the taxpayers are in for max tax increases for the foreseeable future. We'll be much better off to get a fresh start. The sad thing is that several people sat in council meetings & warned this was coming for at least a decade. All while, the public employees who's retirements they were trying to protect jeered at them. I truly hope the people that defrauded the city get the justice they deserve.

Tuesday, March 5
Thecaptain

HEY JIMMY,

You are wrong. I said that if the WFD hired CPA firm Ward Fisher, who was hired to investigate the unused sick pay felony fraudulent crime scheme, found that my numbers were wrong, they would have stuffed it up my ass along time ago. You stated that the WFD accounting review from Ward Fisher was complete. Why havent they released it?

That is the question. Maybe you should instruct a spin class because you keep trying .

Too bad you are completely without merit.

Tuesday, March 5
Jimmy

Our audit will be released. Trust me. And we will

Do it when we want to. But it will be absolutely released and I can’t wait.

Tuesday, March 5
Jimmy

Both firms had the exact same documents. So I’m assuming the results will be identical or very close. Why is the city trying so hard to keep their results from getting out? I think I know but I’ll wait and see.

Tuesday, March 5
wwkvoter

Be careful about bankruptcy, Central Falls did it, and STILL had a 19% property tax INCREASE! AND, the state stepped in to compensate the pensioners who had a reduction after all that.

Tuesday, March 5
Patient Man

warwick voter.

I understand that bankruptcy will continue the unbelievable of tax raises. There is no doubt that max increases will be the norm. Doesn't mean that bankruptcy isn't the best thing for the city.

Tuesday, March 5
wwkvoter

patientan, I'm not exactly sure what you are trying to say there. But another thing is that a city wont be allowed by the court to bankrupt until it has exhausted it's ability to raise tax revenue. Warwick is far from there. And if that 3500 dollar tax bill on your average home becomes 4375 that is a 25% tax increase and for that homeowner, that's $72/month additional.

I believe that of Warwick's 300 million budget, about 230 million is property tax (both residential and commercial). That hypothetical tax increase would add 57 million to the budget. How many years would that cover the OPEB and Pension and other cost increases? How many people would move out? (I would) Would home prices and values drop as a result of Warwick getting excessively taxed, or would most just pay that $72 bucks more a month?

Will they hike taxes to cover these issues costs, and what will the voters and residents do and what effect would that have on Warwick's economy and business situation?

This is the real conversation, because the biggest costs are contractual and inescapable. They have to be covered and taxes are the ONLY source to cover them.

All that being said, how does that affect the way we do business? Do the voters finally pay some attention? Most of the voters are starting from ZERO on understanding how the city works, you know, and simply vote based on a presidential issue or whatever party they're in the habit of, or they saw a name someplace on a sign, or maybe they say some positive press in the Beacon on Avedisian for example and that's good enough for them gotta get back to that barbecue/football game/you name it.

Even if 25% higher property tax (and more sewer bills, pay as you throw trash, etc) DOES wake them up, the vast majority of Warwick voters are unable to bring themselves up to speed enough to effect real improvement in the political class. The dominant democrat party will just put up new names, and those new names will spew some pre-planned slogans about "fixing this mess once and for all", and as Sonny and Cher once sang "the beat goes on".

So this boils down to "will the inevitable tax increases reduce the desirability of Warwick", and more neighborhoods become rentals, high turnover, and the other issues and will that reduce values which would require EVEN MORE tax hikes into a "death spiral"? If that even starts to happen, I have a nice ReMax magnet on my fridge - problem solved.

Tuesday, March 5
Daydreambeliever

I'm sure Robert is gloating right now about Dan York and a the Projo once again making noise without much substance.

I've listened to the show and read the article and neither are saying much so how does anyone know what they are asking about and who says it has to be related to the fire department? It could be anything city related so be careful how much you gloat.

I'm retired and I still have friends that were chiefs and some friends who are still on the job. I don't think they are all lying but not one has been questioned or notified by any law enforcement.

There hasn't been one box, file, computer, etc. taken from the fire department so again I ask who says it's related? Oh Robert does i forgot.

Is it possible the people interviewed so far that have been on the council for 18+ years are being investigated? Is it possible they are shifty lawyers and corrupt politicians? Maybe they are being investigated for

extortion, bribery and embezzlement. Don't rule it out as I've stated not one firefighter active or retired has been questioned.

If it is indeed related to the FD i also welcome the results to finally put this to rest.

Wednesday, March 6
Patient Man

Warwickvoter,

You're right one of the problems with bankruptcy is that municipalities have to dig the hole so deep their shovel breaks before they're eligible for receivership. Bankruptcy wipes out the contractual obligations of pensions, OPEB & current contracts. Merolla was clear that even using max tax increases Warwick can't keep up with the pension & OPEB obligations. Forget about the other obligations of running a city. I think the state just gave Central Falls retirees $2,500 for two years to help them bridge the 50% cut to their pensions. Wiping out our debt will be worth it. It's unfortunate that many decent people will be hurt. Our schools have half the student population from the peak. Warwick had more residents 50 years ago. Warwick has many physical & geographic advantages. Once we fix our finances we will become a desirable city to move to. Currently we are not. I do hope that anyone that is guilty of defrauding the city are convicted & given the justice they deserve, whatever that is.

Wednesday, March 6
Jimmy

Daydream makes a good point. If Merolla is the only one they’ve (allegedly) talked to maybe he is under investigation. Could be for procureing APRA documents requested by a citizen and giving them to the citizen without payment to the city, as testified by the city clerk. Maybe...

Wednesday, March 6
wwkvoter

The FBI does NOT investigate local councilman public document requests. It's stunning how little grasp some commenters here have about PUBLIC sector process, and the U.S. Constitution for that matter. Sad.

Wednesday, March 6
Hillsgrove Hal

wwkvoter, you raise many good points.

I am among the voters you mention, who voted every other year for people I recognized. It may not be popular to say, but many people saw Scott Avedisian as a good mayor, and probably still will, no matter what happens.

After seeing Thecaptain's link, I watched the Dan Yorke show with Council President Merolla. Just like with Mayor Solomon's speech last week, Merolla kept talking about the prior administration and saying that it's not the council's fault. I also watched the finance committee meeting the other night, where Merolla said it was wrong to think that "a part-time council" could have known what was happening.

As PaulHuff said, that's getting old.

And like Paul also said, Merolla and Solomon have been on the council for 20 years -- so they should stop trying to say that they're innocent in all of this, because they're going to get the blame for it.

Wednesday, March 6
Daydreambeliever

WW,

Why is it that only Solomon and Merolla have been interviewed? They haven't disclosed anything so why is anyone speculating on the reasoning?

We are sensationalizing it without knowing facts.

I recall David Cicilline running for Congress and staying the city of Providence was sound with a huge surplus.

AggravAted for elected he came in and and said just the opposite saying the previous administration lied. Sound familiar?

What happened Cicilline got elected to Congress and neither he or anyone from his staff were arrested. That will apply here also.

I agree Solomon and Merolla are part of the problem as they haven't served us well the last 20 years.

Don't forget they are politicians who play the shell game.

Wednesday, March 6
Daydreambeliever

Sorry Danny auto correct it was supposed to say Angel Taveras was elected.

Also city council.members can be arrested just look at the city of Providence.

Wednesday, March 6
Patient Man

Captain,

When did you start showing the city council evidence that something was funny about the FD? Long time council members can't claim ignorance of the fiscal situation because Bob Cushman & others have been warning for at least a decade that we're screwed. don't forget John Howell shut down Bob Cushman's column. He gave some BS reason for shutting Cushman down. But, it was clear it was because Cushman constantly used the column to highlight the fiscal situation and Avedisian wanted him stopped.

Wednesday, March 6
had enough

The current Mayor and Council are complicit or incompetent, either way they all must go. Funny how this all is reported after the elections, merely a coincidence I am sure. Mr. Cushman and Mr. Cote must be laughing at the stupidity of the Warwick voters, that is until they get their next property tax bill, then their laughter will turn to tears.

So let me get this straight, 17 years of tax increases in addition to several new sources of revenue, city offices located in an abandoned school, 10 years of level funding the schools, deteriorating roads and the pipes under them, disgraceful maintenance of parks and playgrounds, closed senior centers and we just re-elected everybody that has been in charge for the last 20 years.

Insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

Wednesday, March 6
Samuel

Patient Man stop tooting Cushman's horn. He gave the teachers union the most lucrative contract in the history of the city before bolting the school committee to run for council. He did it to help his election chances. He gave them every single thing they wanted and we'll never get any of that back. and that contract is the reason that the school department is in the shape it's in today. he's a hypocrite.

Wednesday, March 6
wwkvoter

thanks hal, I voted for avedisian because he represented the only real choice - and - much of this stuff wasnt revealed as bad as it really was and is. even then, IF we had known, who was our better choice among those who ran? scott avedisian whatever anyone may say, tended to keep his cool (publicly), and look like "everybody's boy scout" who got along well with everybody. that, and to a lesser extent the lack of serious competition, was good enough for an almost landslide amount of support that he had.

so while cushman, cote, and a few others were for years predicting the fiscal cliff we have now apparently reached, not enough voters cared about that - because the tax increases werent that big, and for the few who dont sleepwalk into the voting booth (and can even actually name their ward councilman), there wasnt much choice anyway.

and another issue here is labor costs. the teachers may rate high on the scale, but not by much. they compare in the average range for RI and for states with similar cost of living. same for police and other warwick employees. so what were they to do, have a labor battle every contract as these units are forced to fight for their compensation? I've not seen an argument for lower pay rates in warwick that makes any sense.

so that leaves some areas where we actually CAN make some modest improvement - efficiencies, opeb reform, and one other I just forgot (we already consolidated some schools). so the relief from this crisis will come from tax increases (some from growth) , moderated by efficiencies and opeb reform.

I'd like to see those discussed here.

As to the FBI stuff that cote is doing, hopefully the outcomes whatever they are will prevent a loss of confidence by the voters otherwise we'll have political instability on top of fiscal instability - not fun.

Wednesday, March 6
Jimmy

Wwvoter hit the nail on the head “the FBI stuff that Cote is doing”. Lol this guy is trying so hard and yet in the end it’s going to be interesting when audits are released (because vote demanded it) and just because Cote called in a “tip” to the FBI he says there’s an active investigation, and for some weird reason the council pres is in on this. These two have been working together for years trying to cram this as fraud. Again I wish there was but that is simply not the case. It is going to be a fun couple of months.

Wednesday, March 6
wwkvoter

jimmy parsed my remark and took it out of context. number one, no one BUT the FBI decides if they investigate. if they came to Warwick and spoke with officials, that's an investigation. Just as a cop on a road stop asks questions of the suspicious occupants of the car is also conducting and investigation. where it goes from there depends on what turns up initially.

Wednesday, March 6
Thecaptain

HEY JIMMY,

Should should be accurate about your comments. I never said there was an FBI investigation. I did make several comments pertaining to publications of REPORTS THAT THERE WAS AN INVESTIGATION. I also made several comments indicating that when you made statements that you KNOW 100% THAT THERE IS NO FBI INVESTIGATION, that you could not possibly know one way or the other. If there was or wasn't, I am quite sure that "they" would not notify you, me, or anyone else. So stop inferring that you know anything one way or the other because you dont.

Wednesday, March 6
Thecaptain

Here are the payouts as you walk out the door from the WFD. All records kept with pencil and paper.

RETIREMENT DATE NAME UNUSED VAC UNUSED SICK

1/3/2016 CARL PECCHIA 24 107.22 19 $51,723.75

1/3/2016 MATTHEW MCCAULEY 24 101.42 22 $54,779.80

1/10/2016 BRYAN OWENS 24 102.8 18 $53,806.23

1/17/2016 BRUCE COOLEY 24 105 20 $72,312.68

1/24/2016 EDMUND ARMSTRONG 24 105 20 $78,096.86

1/24/2016 MICHAEL SHEA 24 105.77 20 $51,568.80

2/21/2016 STANLEY ZUBA 0 74.75 15 $27,748.91

3/20/2016 GREGORY MONTECALVO 20 105.62 20 $45,022.79

3/27/2016 FREDERICK TRUDELL 24 105.62 20 $63,325.17

5/1/2016 JEREMEY BEECHER 20 65.24 17 $35,203.28

5/1/2016 WILLIAM TYLER 24 105.3 20 $58,882.43

5/8/2016 FRANCIS COLANTONIO 24 105.92 23 $69,769.75

6/5/2016 DAVID MORSE 20 104.73 20 $70,240.36

6/5/2016 TIMOTHY PACKHEM 20 105.31 20 $50,033.14

11/13/2016 THOMAS CHACE 24 107.02 20 $52,778.47

12/4/2016 STEPHEN FAY 12 108.08 23 $53,964.05

1/15/2017 STEPHEN DIMUCCIO 19 108.38 20 $46,943.48

4/9/2017 JOHN HALLORAN 22 104.87 17 $51,035.01

4/25/2017 EDWARD ALSFELD JR 0 0 0 $0.00

4/30/2017 PETER MARIETTI III 17 105.93 0 $57,782.02

5/21/2017 ROBERT PARMENTER 24 106.23 23 $66,812.88

5/21/2017 THOMAS MAYMON JR 24 105.31 20 $70,181.68

5/28/2017 MILES STEERE 24 105.62 20 $65,238.81

7/16/2017 RICHARD BELLAVANCE 12 105 19 $60,189.52

9/10/2017 KEITH BROWN 8 105.09 20 $51,713.45

10/8/2017 RAYMOND ANTONELLI 12 106.27 20 $49,784.12

11/12/2017 JAMES KENNEY 12 105 20 $69,526.13

1/7/2018 RANDY RUSSELL 22 106.883 10 $50,754.79

3/4/2018 WILLIAM LLOYD 20 69.22 20 $39,914.45

3/18/2018 THOMAS JESSOP 20 105.62 23 $71,967.75

3/25/2018 MICHAEL MOAN 24 105.62 20 $72,451.99

4/15/2018 THOMAS SINOTTE 24 106.86 19 $67,317.12

5/6/2018 EDWARD HANNON III 24 105 22 $77,775.57

5/6/2018 JAMES MCLAUGHLIN 24 105 19 $82,332.40

6/2/2018 JUSTIN SWEENEY 0 22.41 0 $6,076.92

6/3/2018 JAMES MAXFIELD 24 105.48 20 $67,146.42

6/3/2018 STEVEN A CAHOON 20 105.29 22 $53,827.13

6/3/2018 STEVEN VINER 20 105.48 20 $65,349.62

6/10/2018 JAMES CONLEY 21 101.96 20 $56,381.99

6/24/2018 MICHAEL CIESYNSKI 16 105.04 21 $56,019.16

6/27/2018 SCOTT CAPWELL 20 105.79 20 $65,488.87

6/29/2018 CHRISTOPHER LECLAIR 15 106.23 16 $54,122.14

6/29/2018 DAVID MAHONEY 14 106.23 23 $71,778.90

6/30/2018 JAMES JORDAN 8 106.54 18 $59,536.97

6/30/2018 JASON ERBAN 14 105.62 17 $49,927.78

6/30/2018 MICHAEL CLARK 19 105.31 22 $65,722.45

6/30/2018 PHILIP DOAR 16 67.42 0 $30,485.84

6/30/2018 STEVEN HANDY 22 105.79 20 $66,387.27

6/30/2018 THOMAS SUGRUE 22 106.54 $67,173.37

8/19/2018 TIMOTHY PICARD 12 105 20 $50,066.65

9/9/2018 JAMES SALISBURY 0 57.6025 15 $26,532.58

Wednesday, March 6
Daydreambeliever

Robert so what is the problem? They are entitled to their buyout per contract for sick, vacation and the banked holidays.

They only get 75 % for there sick time on retirment. Had they called out sick and used them all they would have been paid at 100% and someone would have worked at time and a half.

So id rather pay someone 75% for not using his sick day rather than 250% for him to call in sick and have to hire.

Also I'm pretty positive all state employees, judges, sheriffs, teachers, police and fire get the same perk but you have to be relentless with your statistics of the FD.

Do you want to tell a federal judge or the state police e colonel he doesn't deserve his buyout?

Wednesday, March 6
Daydreambeliever

Robert so what is the problem? They are entitled to their buyout per contract for sick, vacation and the banked holidays.

They only get 75 % for there sick time on retirment. Had they called out sick and used them all they would have been paid at 100% and someone would have worked at time and a half.

So id rather pay someone 75% for not using his sick day rather than 250% for him to call in sick and have to hire.

Also I'm pretty positive all state employees, judges, sheriffs, teachers, police and fire get the same perk but you have to be relentless with your statistics of the FD.

Do you want to tell a federal judge or the state police e colonel he doesn't deserve his buyout?

Wednesday, March 6
justanidiot

iff only we had had a council president who wuz doing there job in the last decade, dis wood knot be a problem

Wednesday, March 6
wwkvoter

justanidiot, that's a really good point. WHO was council president while all this trouble was developing?

Wednesday, March 6
Thecaptain

If you are wondering why we are in this disaster, you should read all of these letters from the past. Corrente, read the letters, then shut your mouth.

http://warwickonline.com/stories/letter-not-standing-up-to-special-interest-groups,13127?

http://warwickonline.com/stories/letters-avedisian-not-doing-us-any-financial-favors,4344?

http://warwickonline.com/stories/letter-city-budget-beyond-the-spin-and-press-releases,7010?

http://warwickonline.com/stories/letter-not-a-revenue-but-a-spending-problem,43011?

Wednesday, March 6
Jimmy

New chief is gonna love all your APRA request.

Wednesday, March 6
Patient Man

Samuel,

Whatever Cushman's culpability may have been regarding a WTU contract has no bearing on whether or not he was right on the fiscal realities of the city. I also saw on Twitter tonight a 2011 GoLocalProv article from Russell Moore that laid out the Warwick nightmare. There was plenty of warning but the electorate was too dumb to pay attention. It will be interesting to hear the interviews of public union retirees that bashed the people giving the warnings when a Federal judge okay's a 50% cut to their pensions. Who will they blame?

Wednesday, March 6
Patient Man

I just read through all the letters linked above. Some of the letters were from 2006 warning how badly the Mayor was screwing the taxpayers. Then the residential tax rate was under $13. Today the rate is $20.80. The max increase we expect this summer will put the rate at $21.64ish. The responsible thing for the city to do is stop raising taxes & start renegotiating contracts & pensions.

Thursday, March 7
Daydreambeliever

Once again Robert posts contractually earned statistics that were earned by the individual. I will once again say have the city buy the software to alleviate the pencil and paper.

Once again they aren't the only department keeping checks and balances using this method but he has such a hard on he just repeats, repeats, repeats.

The municipal employee get a buyout, the police department gets a buyout but it's never mentioned . If it's truly about saving money tell the whole truth.

Case in point a high level officer of the PD can put his retirement papers and use comp time to leave sometimes 3-6 months early while still on the books increasing their % and what are they allowed to do? They are allowed to promote someone into that position immediately causing us the taxpayer to pay 2 individuals for the price of one. That seems right ?

No other department is allowed to do that not even Robert's precious FD.

I am retired and a Warwick resident and agree our choices for mayor have been limited. I'm also thinking this mayor is one term because he is part of the problem.

I also agree an overhaul of the council is needed and that Merolla, Travis and Ladoucuer need to go. I hate to say it but someone is right regarding term limits.

Thursday, March 7
PhillipDrummond

Solomon is only doing what he has always done and worked for him to get elected mayor and that's to feign ignorance, deflect and blame. It's par for the course for the guy. They are all culpable yet the residents of this city put their heads in the sand and vote the architects of this debacle back in. Friends have already moved out in to surrounding cities. My kids are going to school in different districts. It's a shame, we moved here because we were told it was a great city with a great school district and it was a great place to raise a family but turns out not to be the case.

Thursday, March 7
Patient Man

Daydreambeliever,

If the allegations of an illegal unratified contract are borne out then the Captain's point is valid. Clawbacks of part of the payouts would be justified & hopefully jail time for the signatories. Does anybody want to argue that if true the unratified contracts are public corruption? If the allegations are proven to be true are you embarrassed to have been a part of ripping off your neighbors?

Thursday, March 7
Jimmy

Patientman,

I will argue. There are two sides to the story and you have only seen one. In regards to the addendums tonthe contracts (side deals) The union and the city admin negotiated these terms. The union gave up something for this (something never brought up here) the union ratified it. Here’s the interesting part. The city agreed and payed it out. Whose responsibility is it to take it to council? The city admin. This has very little to do with the union. If there is any wrongdoing is completely on the shoulders of the former mayor and Solicitior.

Secondly, there are many more addendums that were not voted on by council. Union gave up clothing allowance for 2 years ($440,000 savings). Union took a 5% pay cut, gave up holiday pay, etc. savings of well into the millions. That was never ratified. So if one is no good then they all are no good and city will (in my estimation) owe a lot more than it saved.

But the simple fact that it was agreed to and approved (not by council, I know) but was paid out means there certainly isn’t any intent to defraud by the union.

And the actual contract. The only one allowed to edit the contract is the city admin. Union has absolutely no access to that document. This was and is a admin issue and not a union issue.

Thursday, March 7
Patient Man

Jimmy,

If the rank & file union members ratified the side deals they were certainly aware that the side deals had never been ratified by the city council. They should have been screaming from the rooftops. Why wouldn't the union have insisted that the city ratify the contracts & make them legal? Bad move for leadership & the members to not insist on the ratification. Now they're possibly exposed to clawbacks from their paychecks & pensions. Don't forget, at least one of these side deals bridged multiple contracts. Did the union & administration collude to defraud the taxpayers? Where does legal culpability fall? I suppose Federal prosecutors will look at the evidence & decide if there is a RICO case against the administration, union leadership or the rank & file members. The answer may not be known for some time. Hopefully all involved, taxpayers, former Mayor & administration members, union leadership, union members all get the justice they deserve. Nothing more, nothing less. I think that's something we can all agree on. well, unless you're a scumbag.

Thursday, March 7
Daydreambeliever

Rumor has it the Mayor listened to Robert and has found a new Chief for the Fire Department here in Warwick. He's a former Providence Fire Marshall with no administration skills something Robert begged for and to not put just another firefighter in that position.

His name is Peter McMichael and he's the best friend of the mayors cousin who sits on the city council for Providence. I'm glad to see the mayor took resume's for this position and chose wisely. I'm also curious as to his pay and terms.

So the mayor appoints his cousins best friend to run this Department after appointing his second cousin to the Board of Public Safety...hmmmm.

I don't see much change just nepotism and returning some favors. Way to go Mayor !!!!!!!

Thursday, March 7
Patient Man

Daydreambeliever,

If the rumor is true, horrible to see nepotism . You would think the new Mayor would be interested in keeping the optics clean. But I think we can agree a Chief from outside the department is probably in the best interest of the city & fire department. Let's get through this scandal & begin rebuilding the trust between the taxpayers, city government & the fire department. I have to believe a lot of highly qualified candidates wouldn't be interested in coming to a scandal plagued city. My hope was that a highly qualified & respected retired Chief from another Rhode Island city would come in as a caretaker for 18-30 months. Meanwhile the city could search for a candidate that would be a long term solution.

Whoever the new Chief is I wish them the best of luck.

Thursday, March 7
Observant1

He will need more than luck if it’s true about the lack of administrative experience coupled with being an outsider. The past “ acting” Chief at least knew the day to day operations and did a good job juggling the responsibilities of 3 positions. This new Chief will be pretty much on his own with no guidance as there are still no assistant chiefs.

Thursday, March 7
Jimmy

Patientman,

So your all for double dipping? You bring in another Chief from another department already making a 100k pension now he gets $120k tonrun the city. You are so hell bent on getting an outsider. Instead of calling everyone scumbags why not wait to see what happens. I’m certain no one will go to jail. And again it’s not the unions job to ratify the contract in the council.

New chief needs to deal with, dire need for trucks and equip, Arbitration’s, grievances, lack of proper personnel, stations in need of repair, personnel issues, etc. all

By himself. It’s going to be interesting.

Thursday, March 7
wwkvoter

patient, jimmy doesnt appear very educated or ethical. he wants to criticize the chief decision,3 well if cote has endorsed the choice thats good enough for most of us.

this is far from over and the tax hikes coming will only add fuel to the fire under that rotisderie and it will be interesting who is on that rotisserie once this sh@t storm really hits.

.

Thursday, March 7
wwkvoter

it will also be interesting what those who were/are on the council and finance committee have to say for themselves. that will be nauseatingly entertaining.

an unbalanced, debt-laden city that cant pay it's bills AND replace schools, roads, fire apparatus, etc, is not good for anybody. imagine really high taxes and still cant replace anything. so our city keeps falling apart while we pay huge and increasing tax bills. and there is no way out of it.

God help us all.

Thursday, March 7
Patient Man

Jimmy, all decent people want justice. I only called people that don't want everyone to get justice they deserve scumbags. I don't know what is in the hearts of anybody but myself. Obviously promoting exclusively through the WFD has led to a mess. I expect the members of the fire department to do their jobs professionally and assist whoever is the new Chief in every way possible. Not act like petty small men that seek to run off an outsider.

Thursday, March 7
Jimmy

The members of the fire will always do their job and a great job at that. There is a extremely small group that calls the department “a mess”. It’s actually one of the best, if not the best in the state. What Mr. Cote claims and what is actually going on is miles apart.

Thursday, March 7
Patient Man

Jimmy wrote

"New chief needs to deal with, dire need for trucks and equip, Arbitration’s, grievances, lack of proper personnel, stations in need of repair, personnel issues, etc. all

By himself. It’s going to be interesting."

"By himself" doesn't sound very professional or supportive to me. I would say multiple illegal & undisclosed contracts & an FBI investigation constitutes a mess.

Thursday, March 7
Observant1

I think “ by himself “ refers to the fact that he is still just one man trying to do the job of three.

Thursday, March 7
TCP

I’ve got to agree with Observant1.

Dum de dum de dum

Thursday, March 7
Patient Man

Observant1

Perhaps, but if you read the entirety of the post you can Jimmy's disdain for an outside Chief. I'm sure it's nice having one of your brothers roll into the top job every 3 years. I'm sure the idea of oversight for the first time in his career is unsettling.

Thursday, March 7
Jimmy

Not what I said at all Patientman. We don’t handle admin stuff on a day to day basis we do our jobs. He has three jobs to do ON HIS OWN. It’s going to be interesting, I certainly wouldn’t want a fellow firefighter to fail and will do whatever I can to help him. Stop twisting my comments. Your disdain for the fire departments has been the same for many many years.

Thursday, March 7
PaulHuff

As a point of order....the city and the union negotiates their collective bargaining agreement. Once a tentative agreement is made the tentative agreement gets presented to the union membership for ratification. After ratification by the union the agreement is then presented by the city to the city council for their ratification.

As an aside, Ordicanxe 2-18 says CBA’s have to be presented to the council for ratification. It is silent on the reopening of these CBA’s and any subsequent “side deals” having to also be ratified by the council. Otherwise wouldn’t that also be written into the ordinance?

I’m no attorney and they know how to twist things, but if the ordinance is silent on an issue then there is no mandate correct? What is the definition of a CBA if there is no definition written into the ordinance? Is a “side deal” a CBA since it alters the terms of the original CBA?

I’m not sure.

Thursday, March 7
Patient Man

Jimmy,

It's public corruption that I frown on. The problem with Rhode Island is people are so used to abuses they and the perpetrators can't recognize what's corrupt. Every year money migrates out of Rhode Island. 2020 census will be interesting for Rhode Island & Warwick.

Thursday, March 7
Jimmy

Your making the assumption that there is Public corruption. I think you should wait and see before casting stones.

Thursday, March 7
Thecaptain

So you say there is no public corruption. So explain this. Go back and listen to the budget hearings of 2016 when the mayor the fire chief and the finance director with vigorously questioned pertaining to the unbalanced mathematics on the unused sick time. Upon multiple questions nobody could explain the unreconciled mathematics. Yet sitting at that table and in the audience were all of the people who signed the Secret side deal and all of the people who administered and processed the checks. Yet no one volunteered the information to reconcile the mathematics of the questions at hand. Why? Because they knowingly and willfully entered into an illegal contract wanted to come forth with that information publicly on that date. Those are facts that are documented on audio in video. The prosecution rests.

Friday, March 8
RI Schadenfreude

Typical politician: Be part of the problem for 20+ years, then swoop in and disingenuously "Sound the alarm" as to the impending threat. So glad I left RI- things never change in spite of the constantly increasing level of "pain" experienced by taxpayers.

Friday, March 8
RI Schadenfreude

Someone PLEASE put a gold star on Cote's homework and put it up on the fridge so he stops pushing it in our faces for approval: "Look what I did!"

Friday, March 8
wwkvoter

RI Schadenfreude just curious, where did you go that is not corrupt like this?

Friday, March 8
wwkvoter

This is what ten years of tax cap hikes look like to a 4000 tax bill:

2018 $4,000

2019 $4,160

2020 $4,326

2021 $4,499

2022 $4,679

2023 $4,867

2024 $5,061

2025 $5,264

2026 $5,474

2027 $5,693

2028 $5,921

Friday, March 8
Jimmy

Captain,

Say it isn’t so....

https://www.wpri.com/news/local-news/dem-investigating-warwick-man-s-claims-of-trapping-gassing-animals/1835485665

Friday, March 8
TCP

Dum de dum de dum

Friday, March 8
ThePilot

Looks like Mr. Cote might be the one with legal problems given the article on WPRI

Friday, March 8
Samuel

I think Stacia is just an antisocial mentally disturbed person and Cushman is just a hypocritical pipsqueak with an ax to grind. I never had anything against Mr Cote until I watched the news tonight. He either lied/bragged in front of the council or he's guilty of killing hundreds of small animals. Either way his credibility is now zero. How can anything he says now be believed . Quite the lowlife. He has sought the spotlight for years but it seems he is not the type of person that looks good in the light. I look forward to his arrest.

Friday, March 8
Karma

Where are ya captain?? Why so quiet? And where is your "animal activist" side kick Stacia? She is pretty quiet too.

You need to either own up to being a psychopathic animal killer, or a lying sack of shit. I personal think you are both.

Come on, Captain...what's it gonna be?

Friday, March 8
wwkvoter

DEM guy said he thinks it was "just an embellishment". Lets hope so, because otherwise the food chain took the biggest hit since the last ice age!

Friday, March 8
wwkvoter

Looks like there's nothing to this after all.

From WPRI:

Reached by phone Friday evening, Cote said he had never actually euthanized an animal.

"Never, that's ridiculous," he said. "That's outrageous."

When asked if he actually trapped more than 200 animals over the course of one summer, Cote said he had captured those animals over "a couple of summers," not just one as he had testified.

He also said he had released all of the animals back into the wild

Friday, March 8
Jo

Wwvoter

Oh okay...well thank.goodness the liar is calling himself a liar now. I feel so much better.

He's either a psycho animal killer or he is lying at city council meetings. Either way, how do we believe a word he says? He was the one who told everyone he trapped and euthanized those animals. Now he is calling himself a liar to save face. Hard to believe a word he says now, isn't it? If you can lie about murdering animals what else are you lying about?

Saturday, March 9
Karma

Wwvoter did you happen to catch this quote from that same article?

He later added, "I love animals, but I'm put in the position where I have to euthanize these. I don't like doing it but it has to be done."

Bit contradictory to his "outrageous!" Statements, is it not?

Saturday, March 9
wwkvoter

agreed, doesnt look good. unfortunately this does nothing to help the city and its perilous finances either...

Saturday, March 9
Patient Man

An imperfect messenger doesn't change the facts. The city is in deep financial trouble. Anybody else get sticker shock looking at a decade of 4.25% compounded tax inscreases

Saturday, March 9
wwkvoter

Patient looks like I only used 4%. Here is the 4.25% table going ten years from now... and that is NOT including a supplemental (or cap waiver)!

2018 $4,000

2019 $4,170

2020 $4,347

2021 $4,532

2022 $4,725

2023 $4,925

2024 $5,135

2025 $5,353

2026 $5,580

2027 $5,818

2028 $6,065

2029 $6,323

Saturday, March 9
KeepCalmandCarryOn

This is very disheartening to read this. Some of the disrespectful comments, also disheartening.

Avedesian played the political card (he's considered a Democrat under any other circumstance) and seemingly ran rough shot over the city for 18 years with the city council at his side.

While I don't begrudge the firefighters anything, I love them, there's got to be some common sense in all these payouts!!

My taxes went up 30% 2 years ago. I suspect they'll go up again. New accountability measures should be put in place for all spending...I'm going to become more involved in the city and promise not to be quiet. Maybe the Mayor needs to clean house with department heads??? Let's get this city back on track to being the place you want to live as it used to be!!

Sunday, March 10
Warwickbeautiful

The fact that Mr. Cote is under criminal investigation by the DEM for illegally trapping and killing animals should not come as a surprise to anyone familiar with his past criminal behavior. Mr. Cote has been arrested for making threatening phone calls to the home of a city employee, and he has also been arrested for illegally dumping gasoline down a storm drain, almost causing an entire neighborhood to blow up. Couple those facts with his recent behavior at a local funeral home, where he harassed and screamed at the family of a deceased gentleman, and it's readily apparent that Mr. Cote could be mentally unstable and a danger to others. Hopefully this will be a wake up call for him to seek professional counseling where he can be treated for his issues.

Sunday, March 10
Harry from Hoxsie

While watching Mayor Solomon on Ch 10 with Gene Valacente this morning I couldn’t help notice that he placed any and all blame on Avadesian and Regerio fit contract issues. Did not say anything about union or firefighters. He said it was those two alone that didn’t get contract ratified. Can’t see how the Firefighters are to blame for anything.

Sunday, March 10
wwkvoter

uhhh.... "not for nuthin" but the gasoline and phone call things were dismissed as unfounded.

Sunday, March 10
wwkvoter

harry, good point except WHY would avedisian and ruggerio, contract in hand, on their own just walk up to the fire department and say "here's hundreds of thousands more for you" for no reason? makes NO sense.

also, solomon, (a lawyer and cpa!) was on the council throughout almost ALL of avediaisns time, and was council president for much of it.

everyone can see through the "it was that guy over there" crap!

Sunday, March 10
Harry from Hoxsie

Wwvoter,

It appears to me that there was a negotiated side deal, somewhere the city got something for it. I believe that’s how collective bargaining works. I believe those two neglected to finish their side of the deal for some reason, but still paid it out. I don’t see any wrongdoing on the unions part. They negotiated it and were paid what they negotiated. The two meatheads didn’t bother to ratify it. Where that goes legally I don’t know, but you can’t prove intent to defraud there. In my opinion. The buck is being shuffled.

Sunday, March 10
wwkvoter

Here is the 4.25% table going ten years from now... and that is NOT including a supplemental (or cap waiver)! Now lets have more crickets from the dopey Warwick voters!

2018 $4,000

2019 $4,170

2020 $4,347

2021 $4,532

2022 $4,725

2023 $4,925

2024 $5,135

2025 $5,353

2026 $5,580

2027 $5,818

2028 $6,065

2029 $6,323

Monday, March 11
Samuel

Cote has proven himself a liar time and time again so I believe nothing of what he says.

Tuesday, March 12
wwkvoter

"samuel", unbelievable. can you read? you could care less apparently about a working family having to pay almost $600 a MONTH to the city in ten years. it's all about you, right?

Tuesday, March 12
Jimmy

Wwkvoter,

I don’t believe samual said that. I completely care about every tax payer, and I think samual does also. I think what he/she was trying to say is that Thecaptain is a lying sack of garbage and can’t be trusted with anything he says. #wheredidcotego

Tuesday, March 12
wwkvoter

I can understand why some people would be frustrated with cote. But as far as lying I'm not sure that I recall anyone proving a lie on his part about the finances of Warwick which is the main issue here.

.

Tuesday, March 12
Samuel

wwkvoter Using your numbers it would be $526.91. I don't consider that ALMOST 600 and I'm glad that you don't do my taxes. You're assuming max tax increases over a long period of time and you can't have any way of knowing that will happen unless you can predict the future. But let me put it to you this way: I pay $260 a month for cable, internet, and phone. I pay three hundred a month average for other utilities. I pay $300 for our cell phones. My share of our health coverage is $175 a week. What do you think the charges for those items will be in ten years? My property taxes are the least of my concerns. I had two kids go thru the school system, if I own my home for 40 years I will then have repaid the city that money. And in all that time they picked up my trash and yard waste, plowed the roads for me, provided me with police and fire protection. I used the parks and the skating rink and pool and my kids played on the athletic fields. I consider my property taxes the best bargain I've ever had and if they raised mine a grand tomorrow I wouldn't mind as long as it would be used to improve roads and ballfields etc.

Sewer taxes are horrible but way better than when I had a septic system.

The contracts all need to be redone because things have to change but I certainly don't fault employees of the city for trying to get as much as possible for themselves, that happens everywhere. And Cote is a liar plain and simple, he lied about the trapping thing and he lied about the funeral thing. Whay would I believe anything he has to say on any subject?

Tuesday, March 12
wwkvoter

You make some good point And I'm not for messing with wildlife unless absolutely necessary. (Or going to a funeral for any reason other than you care about the family).

You're right about the $527 not being 600 but it's still a lot. I believe that Council President Merolla himself said even max tax increases wont keep up with the free lifetime health insurance many retired employees get whuile also covering existing employees and all the other things we have to pay for.

I agree we get good services from some very good city people in Warwick. I definitely as a taxpayer want them well compensated for it.

The city is however in serious, serious trouble paying our bills. On the radio today there was all kinds of talk about state intervention under the same law as they used with EP, WW, and Woonsocket. It CAN happen that the state steps in with an overseer. Then what? This is no joke and the alarm has been sounded for a dozen years, with no one listening. If $526 monthly tax bill on a 200k house ten years from now would cover it, that's one thing, but they're saying that even that much wont cover it, and the state may have to take over.

That's all I'm saying.

Tuesday, March 12