East Providence Council opts against holding special budget hearing

Will instead formalize changes the same night as regularly scheduled meeting

By Mike Rego
Posted 10/14/19

EAST PROVIDENCE — The City Council late last week opted not to hold a separate, special public hearing on proposed changes to the Fiscal Year 2019-20 budget, rather choosing to roll it into its …

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East Providence Council opts against holding special budget hearing

Will instead formalize changes the same night as regularly scheduled meeting

Posted

EAST PROVIDENCE — The City Council late last week opted not to hold a separate, special public hearing on proposed changes to the Fiscal Year 2019-20 budget, rather choosing to roll it into its regularly scheduled meeting set for Tuesday night, Oct. 15.

At its last gathering on October 9, which doubled as a public hearing and a non-binding workshop session, the council stated its intention to formalize amendments to the FY19-20 budget submission of Mayor Bob DaSilva at a public hearing on Columbus Day evening, Oct. 14.

However, by the time the agenda was posted per open meeting requirements, it was moved to the same October 15 date set for the council’s second of two meetings for the month. The prevailing wisdom being the body could conclude deliberations in short order at one meeting instead of needing another on a different day.

The council is working on an expedited schedule due to the change in the form of governance to elected mayor and applicable alterations to the City Charter. Because the budget is submitted by the council as an ordinance, the mayor has veto power over it. The chief executive has 10 days upon passage to reject the council’s proposal. But the council still has ultimate say in that the body can override said veto by a “super majority” vote, a minimum 4-1 count.

The council, per charter, must approve a budget no later than seven days prior to the end of the city’s fiscal year on October 31. The 10-day window to meet its override ability ends on Tuesday. Of note as well, any increases in the budget must be done in the same time frame and during an open hearing where the public is allowed to comment.

When the council does gather it will consider several transfers of funds and additions of line items it proposed at the October 9 forum.

First and foremost, the council will decide whether or not to reintroduce $950,000 to the School Department’s FY19-20 outlay removed by Mayor DaSilva. The district administration and a majority of the council have already expressed a strong desire to put the money back into the school’s coffers.

The council also will vote to transfer $32,175 to its auspices from the Finance Department to oversee the city’s annual independent audit, $75,000 into its expenses for legal counsel and $50,000 into its professional services account for outside consultation.

At the request of appointed employees and board members, the council must determine if it will add monies into the Canvassing Department’s budget to account for the creation of a full-time position. Total compensation for the job would require an initial expenditure of S61,805.45, roughly $40,000 than was first prescribed to the department.

Other increases which must be approved in a public hearing setting are as follows: Building Inspection and Engineering Divisions, $3,000 and $900 respectively, to cover the costs of cellphone use; $15,000 for use as grant match funds; reinstating a $15,000 reduction in the earmark for the non-profit East Bay Community Action Program; $13,000 into the Water Department; an $80,722 grant match for the Fire Department; $75,000 to finish construction at Townie Pride Park/Jones Pond; $15,000 for the seasonal rental of restrooms at parks around the city lacking those facilities; and $6,000 to complete a dog park at Hunts Mills.

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Mike Rego

Mike Rego has worked at East Bay Newspapers since 2001, helping the company launch The Westport Shorelines. He soon after became a Sports Editor, spending the next 10-plus years in that role before taking over as editor of The East Providence Post in February of 2012. To contact Mike about The Post or to submit information, suggest story ideas or photo opportunities, etc. in East Providence, email mrego@eastbaymediagroup.com.