To the editor,
Streetlights snuffed out… Oldham School closing…. This may seem like a weird Groundhog Day repeat of my letter last week. But now there’s a new twist: A resounding slap in the face to the taxpayers of East Providence, courtesy of the Budget Commission. A $245,000 invoice for their staff’s services has come out of the blue, and it’s apparently already been paid. Nary a word was said about this in the year that the Commission has been here. “We’re on loan,” they’d say. “We’re here to help you out.”
I’ll grant that they have helped, that the members of the Commission have made some tough choices along the way. But what was it for? For them to swoop in and write themselves a check for a quarter million dollars? If we had that much money to spare in the municipal coffers, we could have found a good use for it right here in the city. We could have helped to support private efforts to resuscitate middle school sports. We could have saved a library branch from closure. Heck, we could even have bought some textbooks or toilet paper.
I’ve heard that there’s a petition circulating around town beseeching the Governor to do something. I haven’t seen the petition, so I don’t know the specifics. But, if it says “Mr. Chafee, we’ve had enough help; we can take it from here,” I’d be inclined to sign it.
I implore our elected officials, not only members of the City Council and School Committee, but our representatives at the State House — Senators Conley and Daponte, Representatives Melo, Amore and Kazarian — to sit with state authorities and find out exactly what the Budget Commission costs us per month and how we’ll be hit up for it in the future (and, rest assured, we will be).
While you’re at it, please find out when we’ll be able to reclaim our city, because, for now, we taxpayers have no recourse whatsoever, and our only permitted input is to pay the bills.