Friday, January 20, 2012
This letter was submitted by June Coan.
To the Editor, At the most recent School Committee meeting, Mr. Sweeney from B&E Consulting presented recommendations to the committee. Mr. Sweeney recommended eliminating middle school sports comparing them to community sports such as “AYSO”. It is not the same thing; in fact, as a middle school girls’ soccer coach, I spend most of my season undoing a lot of what I call “AYSO mentality”. AYSO is valuable in its own right, but it does not serve the same function as Middle School Soccer. The three concepts AYSO focuses on is sport fundamentals, fun, and everyone plays. Middle School sports go beyond that, preparing them mentally and physically for high school level playing. AYSO is meant to teach the basics; however, competitively for …
Thursday, January 12, 2012
The bill passed 64-1 on the House floor.
Members of the Rhode Island House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a legislative bill that will give East Providence an advancement in its state aid. The payment will float the city until May. It was projected East Providence would be broke without an influx of cash by March. "I would not be standing here asking you to do this," said Rep. Helio Melo, chairman of the House Finance Committee (D-East Providence). "Obviously the city is in default of some contractual obligations...It gives the city time to develop strategies." The bill passed 64-1. Rep. Robert Watson (R-East Greenwich, West Greenwich) was the only no vote. He had concerns with an amendment to the bill that states East Providence is not in default due to outstanding …
Vouchers exceeding $25,000 were approved by the commission.
The budget commission is banking on state legislators' votes tonight. According to Michael O'Keefe, chairman of the budget commission, a proposed bill to advance the annual state aid payment could give East Providence about $12.7 million. "It gives us breathing room until May," he said at Thursday's budget commission meeting, noting an immediate cash flow issue was his main concern. Members also discussed the possibility of creating further incentives to push residents to pay their tax bills months earlier than the deadline. Before the idea is brought before residents, members will assess the fiscal benefits. "It may not be cost-effective," O'Keefe said. Commission members must still calculate the amount needed to fund pension liability …
The bill would give the budget commission authority to certify to the state Department of Revenue that the city needs an advance of its education aid and to determine the amount necessary.
Today the House and Senate will vote on legislation requested by the East Providence Budget Commission that would help the city receive its state education aid early to prevent it from running out of cash later this month. They will cast their ballots at approximately 4 p.m. The legislation is sponsored by the chairmen of the House and Senate Finance Committees, both of whom are from East Providence, Rep. Helio Melo (D-Dist. 64, East Providence) and Sen. DanielDa Ponte (D-Dist. 14, East Providence, Pawtucket), reads the release. The bill would give budget commissions – the panels appointed by the state to help financially troubled municipalities address their fiscal needs – the authority to certify to the state Department of Revenue that …
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Members discussed the results of an audit that proposes an additional $1.5 million in department savings at Tuesday's East Providence School Committee meeting.
East Providence Patch reported live from city hall during Tuesday night's school committee meeting. To balance the city budget, members voted to accept a B&E audit report that includes $3 million in proposed adjustments - including the elimination of half-day kindergarten, middle school sports, and classes that only attract a small group of students. School committee members voted to study the fiscal impact of those adjustments before they made the recommended cuts. The school committee has already voted on many of the audit's recommendations, so far saving $1.5 million in next year's budget. The audit also praised the department's highly successful special eduction program and urged administrators to hire essential staff, including a …
Thursday, January 5, 2012
East Providence should be able to make payroll through the end of March.
State aid to the rescue, maybe. Members of the budget commission are actively researching initiatives to bail out East Providence's floundering finances. One proposition: ask the Rhode Island House Finance Committee if an early state aid payment can be deposited in East Providence's coffers. The city usually receives the funds by April 30, said Finance Director Ellen Eggeman after Thursday's meeting. A $12.2 million deficit is projected for April. The city also as an option of buying a bond to bridge the deficit. Municipalities, such as Woonsocket, have secured loans while reducing debt. But a poor credit rating is compounding the city's financial woes. According to Maureen Gurghigian of First Southwest, a finance firm that does consulting…
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
Councilors voted against changing the tax billing schedule to level East Providence debt.
City councilors unanimously voted to table a resolution that would have altered tax collection schedules to help pull East Providence out of its mounting debt. It's no secret administrators are anxious to secure a stopgap in cash flow. They project the city will be broke by the end of January unless they secure additional Tax Anticipation Notes (TANs). The city's borrowing ability has been constricted by the latest bond downgrade; Bank of America only lent $10 million leaving administrators scrambling. After this morning's third budget commission meeting, members agreed to further study the impact of the proposal. Mayor Bruce Rogers said many residents would not be able to handle an extra bill, that some would be "forced out of their homes…
Monday, November 14, 2011
Major Steven Bannon will give a report to the state regarding the city's finances after 120 days of advisement.
To get East Providence's balance sheets on track, the state Department of Revenue appointed a fiscal overseer on Monday. Major Steven Bannon of the state police will help forge a sustainable five-year budget deficit reduction plan, announced Rosemary Booth Gallogly, director of the state Department of Revenue, during a press conference held at city hall. "Collaboratively we'll come up with a plan to resolve the issues here," Bannon said. Due to outstanding school department debts to eduction vendors, including Meeting Street and Bradley Hospital, and mounting pension plan costs, state officials said intervention is imperative. The city is paying about 48 percent into the pension plan's actuarially required contributions (ARC). According to…
Sunday, November 13, 2011
B&E Consulting will conduct a performance audit on city and school department finances.
In an effort to continue city debt reduction and ultimately stave off bankruptcy, East Providence administrators have hired B&E Consulting to conduct a performance audit on city and school department finances. According to City Manager Peter Graczykowski, the results of the audit will be available in about two weeks. "They have the expertise and time to audit the books," he said, noting results will be relayed to Department of Revenue members who are monitoring the city's finances with a critical eye. At last week's school committee meeting, members reduced the school department deficit to $3 million after making plans to lay off 24 school personnel and reduce the IT budget. Most of the slashed school employee positions were related to …
Friday, November 11, 2011
The Chafee administration will likely make an announcement Monday regarding East Providence’s troubled finances, just days after Bradley Hospital issued the city an ultimatum for $4.6 million in unpaid bills.
- On WPRI
Friday, November 11, 2011