To the Editor:
In the near future the most recent financial audit commissioned by the Warwick City Council will be ready for presentation. The docketing of this report is likely sooner than later. Warwick is entering the budget season and this information is crucial as we look forward fiscally. The details in the auditor's report surely will hammer home the gravity of the financial problems we face as a community.
What may also be revealed is the who, what, where, when, why and how we got to this point in the first place. There are plenty of people who can and will tell you whose fault it is. The auditor’s report may show us how to work out of our financial problems mathematically, but will not account for the toll the past budget adoption mistakes are taking on our city services, our children’s education, our ever-rising property evaluations and the maximum tax burdens levied. This did not happen overnight. We, the taxpayers, will likely return home furious at our elected leaders for not protecting us. However, the real truth is that we are all to blame for not paying attention and not holding those responsible for these decisions accountable.
When municipal contract language includes unsustainable wages, COLAS and benefits and we don’t push back as taxpayers, we fail ourselves and the future residents of Warwick. Shame on those bargaining units that continue to grab and scratch at the highest pay and best benefits knowing they are unsustainable (have you noticed we have closed schools in Warwick due to declining population?), while using their political muscle to vanquish any interloper. This lack of foresight and genuine ignorance of forecast management jeopardizes the future sustainability of promises made to our newest generation of teachers, municipal and public safety employees.
Citizens young and old are leaving our beautiful, historic Warwick. Our economy, housing values and tax base are dependent on an influx of new residents and new businesses that are being driven away by the prospect of rising taxes and the City's failing finances. Shame on the elected officials who, over the years, postured during the budget debate then abstained or voted yes to approve it anyway. It is time for true leadership. It is time for a new slate. Time is running out to right this ship. And the taxpayers have the power to correct our course. It will involve making tough decisions and substantive changes in every facet of government. It is going to take new, dedicated, hard-working, innovative leadership to break this cycle of complacency, mediocrity and indifference. How do we repair what is broken in Warwick? The Warwick GOP is calling for a Charter Review Convention NOW to implement term limits and other government functions, such as professionalizing the School Committee, since that body controls 60 percent of the city’s fiscal resources. The Warwick GOP is encouraging, recruiting and endorsing solid candidates that are willing to be held to a higher standard, have the courage to make sound decisions and are not afraid of reform. We welcome and champion all voices of change. It is imperative that we take action, now. We invite all Republicans, Independents, Unaffiliated and Democratic taxpayers to participate in a lively discussion to identify the problems and most importantly, the solutions. Please join us on the first Thursday of every month at 7 p.m. at the Warwick Public Library. You can also follow Warwick GOP on Facebook.
We can no longer afford to sit back and complain. The time for reform is now. We need to send the sheep to pasture.
Warwick GOP Chairman