Woonsocket City Council votes to ask state to take over its finances

PROVIDENCE, RI – The Woonsocket City Council has approved a resolution asking the state to appoint a budget commission to oversee its finances. This paves the way for Woonsocket becoming the third Rhode Island community to come under the fiscal thumb of the state.

The Woonsocket City Council vote was 5 to 2 in favor of asking the state to appoint a budget commission to dig the community out of a dire cash flow problem. Woonsocket Mayor Leo Fontaine says the school department stands to run out of money in two weeks, even with a rushed state school aid payment of $3 million.

"Time is running out. The school department bounced some checks just this past week," Fontaine says. "Their payroll was due to bounce as well but the city found the shortage in the accounts and we were able to float a short term loan until the next state payment comes in."

The vote comes three days after the state House of Representatives torpedoed an attempt by the city of Woonsocket to levy a fifth quarterly property tax bill on its residents. The House bowed to the wishes of State Representative Lisa Baldelli Hunt of Woonsocket who argued that her constituents could not afford the extra tax.

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