The East Providence City Council all but buttoned up the process of putting together the Fiscal Year Budget for 2013-14 over the last week, doing so with a mostly satisfactory result for the taxpayers and residents of our fine municipality.
The Council deserves great credit for remaining very much true to the five-year plan the Budget Commission prescribed for the city’s financial revitalization.
The deviations from the Commission’s framework, while in some instances likely not necessary or warranted, were minimal and even though the tax levies were decreased and/or frozen for the moment, the Council did it with a level hand.
In addition, the Council rightly concluded the raises sought by the City Manager and the Finance Director for top administrators to be a bit excessive. Instead, the elected officials took a more tempered approach by offering said admins a smaller, much more palatable two percent increase in their salaries to match those of their union counterparts.
Also of significance, the Council did little to augment the proposed budget of Schools Superintendent Kim Mercer. The lack of movement on her submission not only shows a much needed commitment to the School Department, but also could be taken as a gesture of respect and reassurance for the superintendent, who just this year took over the troubled division.
We can only hope the Council takes a similar tact in ensuing years as the problems of our schools and the need for fixes come into greater focus and necessity.
In the end, the FY13-14 plan is a good start for this Council, considering it was the first crack the members had at negotiating their way through the process since being elected.