Editorial: East Providence budget deliberations have been thorough, thoughtful

Posted 10/10/19

Credit where credit is due, the administration and the City Council both deserve plaudits for their efforts over the last few weeks hashing out East Providence’s Fiscal Year 2019-20 budget. Mayor …

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Editorial: East Providence budget deliberations have been thorough, thoughtful

Posted

Credit where credit is due, the administration and the City Council both deserve plaudits for their efforts over the last few weeks hashing out East Providence’s Fiscal Year 2019-20 budget. Mayor Bob DaSilva and his envoys have been responsive at each of the numerous workshops conducted by the council, which, in turn, has approached its oversight role as the legislative body with a veracity rarely seen in recent years.

When taking into account a budget the size of East Providence’s, in FY19-20 nearly $169 million, there are obviously several nuances and intricacies contained within it. There are contractual obligations, state and federal mandates, monies owed for past, present and future expenditures, a myriad of items both the council and the executive must take under consideration.

Of course, both entities being political ones as well, there are often promises made that are attempted to be kept or decisions chosen out of expediency or goodwill.

It’s fair to conclude, however, most of the items included in the city’s FY19-20 financial outlay are earmarked towards what could euphemistically be labeled as “meat and potato” matters. They are needed and/or necessary. In contrast, as is seldom used in Washington D.C., there is little “pork” included in next year’s budget.

One could see that as a good or bad thing, depending on their perspective. Some so-called “pork” actually enhances a municipality, especially when it is in good financial standing and can afford to extend itself slightly. Of course, on the down side, dollars spent on unnecessary or “vanity” projects tend not to abet the community as a whole, rather it can be viewed as some sort of payback or, as our governing ancestors in the United Kingdom refer to it, a “bung.”

But with the new fiscal year approaching, East Providence, ever since the state-appointed Budget Commission necessarily righted its books, is on solid financial footing, something no resident, elected or otherwise, should disregard, nor should they be complacent about.

The city will soon have a new high school, its waterfront is on the verge of even more growth and a plan has previously been put into place to repair our roads. And our current crop of politicians, particularly members of the council if budget discussions are taken into account, seem to be deliberating matters of importance in a serious manner.

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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.