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Mayor Raps Format of City Budget

East Providence Mayor Bruce Rogers said at the City Council meeting Tuesday night that a budget that reflects specific revenues and expenditures is needed.

East Providence’s proposed budget for next fiscal year took some heat Tuesday night, Oct. 2, from the mayor.

It wasn’t heat generated by the size of the $134.5 million General Fund, though. It was heat generated by the form of the budget.

“I’m unable in this current budget format to determine the revenues versus the expenditures,” said East Provide Mayor Bruce Rogers.

Rogers used the Municipal Court line item as an example. The budget only shows the expenditures, not the revenue, he said.

Does the court generate revenue for East Providence? Should the city just send moving violations to the RI Traffic Tribunal? The city can’t just eliminate the court, Rogers said, but the budget format doesn’t give the City Council or taxpayers the context needed to make certain decisions.

City Manager Peter Graczykowski said the budget format doesn’t show revenues because “all of the money goes to the General Fund.”

And the city departments have not been set up to show a revenue versus cost picture, the city manager said.

Rogers wasn’t satisfied.

“We need to find a way to present the budget so that we, the City Council, and the taxpayers can understand it,” Rogers said.

Graczykowski said he will work with the finance director to come back to the City Council with a more user-friendly format.  In the meantime, he said, the first hearing on the budget by the East Providence Budget Commission will be held this Thursday, Oct. 4, at 3 pm.

Both Graczykowski and Rogers serve on the Budget Commission along with three appointees by the RI Department of Revenue.

A second hearing on the budget is scheduled for Oct. 18 at 5 pm. That date is two days after the next City Council meeting.

Priorities and any proposed changes will have to be determined at that meeting, Graczykowski said, so the Budget Commission has the City Council’s version before the second hearing.

The proposed General Fund budget is about $300,000 less than the 2011-12 fiscal year budget. When the two enterprise funds for water and wastewater are added in, the All Funds Budget of $153.9 million also is about $300,000 less than the current year.

Rags 1 October 03, 2012 at 02:06 PM
A budget is a plan outlinning goals and objectives for the fiscal life, usualy a year for municipal budgets, reflected in numbers. In short, the numbers reflect the plans for the year and how they will be financed. Revenues compared to expenditures show a picture to make decisions on priiorities of service and are important for that reason. Good call by the Mayor. Budget format needed for years.
Govstench October 07, 2012 at 01:16 PM
Municipal Courts should be sending their revenue to the city. The city should have a budget item that funds the court, the staff that works there and any expenditures. In turn, any revenues from tickets, fines and penalties should be turned over to the city finance department. This is not rocket science people - set up a format and stick to it. Perhaps the council should make the budget format an ordinance with penalities to make sure the various departments stay in compliance.

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