EAST PROVIDENCE — In a meeting that lasted barely 15 minutes Thursday afternoon, July 18, in Room 306 at City Hall, the East Providence Budget Commission dispensed with a rather thin agenda in record time for the state overseers, who have been seated for the better part of the last 18 months.
The meeting, chaired by Stephen Bannon in the absence of Diane Brennan, had just five specific items on the agenda, one of those was the approval of the minutes from the June 27 forum and another was a review of the city’s cash flow by Finance Director Malcolm Moore .
The Commission approved each aspect of the three other items listed on the docket.
On the city side, City Manager Peter Grazcykowski was granted authority to terminate a part-time employee in the Planning Department if grant funding for the position is not found by July 19. Also, a budgeted position for a custodian was approved as were the hires for the East Providence Recreation Department summer program and a part-time employee at the city kennel.
On the school side, the Commission granted Superintendent Kim Mercer and Human Resources Director Kathleen Waterbury the ability to post and fill a school custodial position and a number of fall coaching positions at East Providence High School. Those positions include the head coach and assistant varsity boys’ soccer positions, two varsity assistant football coaches and one freshmen football coach and the head coach for football cheerleaders.
Mr. Moore told the Commission as of July 12 the city had collected almost 64 percent of all taxes for fiscal year 2013-14. He noted bills only went out at the beginning of June, but the city’s full payment discount continues to serve as incentive for residents to pay their taxes completely up front. He noted by the end of July, the Finance Department is expecting nearly 70 percent of all taxes to have been paid.
In addition, Mr. Moore said the city’s cash flow remains steady. East Providence is due to make a $23 million-plus repayment of Tax Anticipatory Notes (TANs) on Aug. 2. Despite that, the city will still have a cash balance of over $28 million.
Mr. Moore concluded by saying East Providence’s cash flow situation should stay the course until either December of this year or January of next, when the city usually needs to secure TANs from a lending institution.
Littleneck Cementary funds
The Commission amended the minutes of a previous meeting and signed off on the use of some $31,000 by the Ancient Littleneck Cemetary Commission and the East Providence Parks and Rec Department for repairs on the grounds. Road and fence fixes are first on the list to be addressed.
More meeting notes
Though not on the agenda, the situation involving East Providence Police Chief Joseph Tavares was discussed briefly via a question from a member of the public, EPPD Detective Corporal and IBPO Local 569 president Kevin Feeney.
Det. Cpl. Feeney asked the Commission if it had a comment on the recently released State Police Report into the matter, an investigation that found no probable cause for criminal charges to be pressed against city officials alleged to have used undue influence over Mr. Graczykowski to remove and/or fire Chief Tavares.
Speaking on behalf of the Commission, which requested the State Police investigation, Mr. Bannon, himself a retired former high-ranking member of the State Police, said he had “no comment.” He added he “not even seen the report. Personally, I have not seen it.”
The next meeting of the East Providence Budget Commission has been set for 3 o’clock Thursday afternoon, Aug. 1, in Room 306 of City Hall.