State Street resident Brandt Heckert, the owner of Providence's Pastiche, makes a plea at last month's Financial Town Meeting to not cut town employees' salaries.
In his farewell letter printed in last week’s paper, former Warren Building Official Bill Nash criticized the actions of an organized “vocal minority” that in his opinion “will result in irreparable harm to the Town of Warren.”
I share that opinion, although am hopeful that the harm done by these actions won’t be “irreparable” and that we may collectively be able to improve the damage done. But what is certain is that the gutting of key positions will negatively impact Warren’s economic development.
The token salary cuts produced absolutely no reduction of the property tax rate but will in fact dramatically reduce the level of service available for new (and existing) business growth, thus reducing potential tax revenue. The result of this short-sighted maneuvering will only further exacerbate Warren’s revenue shortage. As I said at the Financial Town Meeting, this is penny-wise and pound-foolish but the penny saving was not even achieved!
While I strongly disagree with the wisdom of the actions taken at the meeting, I also recognize the legitimate frustration on the part of the taxpayers who are desperate for relief. What is truly concerning is not so much that a minority of taxpayers took an extreme stance but that an individual in a leadership position, whose job it is to act responsibly and understand consequences, not only condoned but in fact incited this behavior prior to the meeting. Warren can ill afford leadership that is willing to play political gamesmanship in lieu of making tough but smart decisions that are in the best long term interests of the town.
26 State St.