Want to get a sense of why Rhode Island is unlikely to see anytime soon the consolidation of fire services in communities -- like Coventry, Lincoln, and Burrillville -- that each have a handful of local fire districts?
Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien has proposed a budget that excludes any tax hike for residents or businesses. The proposed 112-million dollar budget includes buying a rescue vehicle to cut overtime costs, giving schools 600-thousand extra dollars, and setting aside money in the rainy day fund. Grebien said the arrival of new businesses, cuts in city staff, and grant revenue helped craft the budget.
Speculation continues about whether a settlement will emerge from closed-door pension mediation as soon as next week.
The head of the Rhode Island League of Cities and Towns, Daniel Beardsley, is worried that a settlement could hike pension costs for communities by more than $100 million. The league outlines its concerns in a new white paper. But as Beardsley says, it remains unclear if the General Assembly will be receptive to approving a settlement.
Johnston Mayor Joseph Polisena tends to get somewhat less attention than some of his counterparts from other cities. But Polisena was candid and quotable during a visit to Rhode Island Public Radio’s Political Roundtable last week. Here are some of the highlights:
Moody’s Investors Service says the $8.1 billion budget signed into law by Governor Lincoln Chafee on June 15 “is credit positive for Central Falls and schools, but leaves Woonsocket and pensions unaddressed.”
Moody’s points to “a material increase in funding for schools” — $34 million, or almost 4 percent, “marking the third consecutive annual increase in school funding. State funding for education now stands at over $900 million, well above pre-recession peak.”
Anti-tax activist Grover Norquist once famously talked about shrinking the federal government “to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.” Providence native Joe Nocera uses his New York Times’ op-ed column today to argue that state Representative Jon Brien is wielding a similar cudgel to cut spending in Woonsocket: