East Providence is in deep trouble

To the editor,
The September 13, 2012 edition of The Post included two very important and revealing items regarding the East Providence Budget Commission and our city administration.
The first is the article “Latest Budget Commission meeting gets testy”, page 4, recounting the September 6 bi-weekly meeting of the Commission which show just how seriously our elected and hired City officials take the current financial mess the City is in. Deadlines for important financial projections were either ignored or forgotten?? Department heads submitting requests for major capital expenditures, while our kids do without textbooks?? Lack of coordination and consolidation in certain departments?? Animosity between city officials and the budget commission?? What is that these people don’t get?? This city is in deep trouble.
Everyone needs to get on board and cooperate with the budget commission as it attempts to deal with the situation. Having spent over 40 years working in private industry (over 33 in management) I can tell you from experience that this sort of behavior would never be tolerated. It is unconscionable for our City Manager to miss a deadline if, as reported, “he was on vacation”. Can you imagine what would happen if National Grid didn’t get power restored to the City because the supervisor in charge was on vacation?? Heads would roll!! The financial crisis in East Providence needs to be respected and dealt with as though it were a “major power outage”. No more excuses.
The other item I wish to comment on is the Editorial “No tax vow seems fanciful”, page 6. In that editorial you mention that absent labor contract give backs, “the only other options are to increase taxes or slash even more off the bone” in order to improve the city’s financial standing. That statement is made with the implication that taxes have not already been raised.
Let me point out that taxes have indeed been raised to every home owner who lives in his or her home in the form of a 1 percent reduction to the homestead exemption, which 1 percent reduction is planned to occur every year for the next 14 years until it is gone. That results in a 1 percent additional tax on all city residents who live in their property (which I suspect is many of our seniors). Then the discount for paying property taxes early was also reduced by 1 percentage point resulting in increased revenue. While neither of these changes to our tax collection system may technically be considered a “tax increase”, they do in fact have the same result by increasing revenue.
Remember the old adage “if it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck…” It is my sincere hope and desire for East Providence to get its act together so we can all be proud of the place we call home. But everyone needs to be on board and pulling in the same direction for that to happen.
Robert Amman
71 Allerton Ave.

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