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Mayor Signs $294M Budget, Warns of Under-Funded Items

Warwick City Hall
The City Council will consider a new ordinance outlining new rules for determining who will be issued concealed carry gun permits on April 6.
The City Council will consider a new ordinance outlining new rules for determining who will be issued concealed carry gun permits on April 6.

Warwick, RI – Mayor Scott Avedisian has signed the $294,048,252 FY2016 budget, warning that the City Council’s amendments will bring department heads before them to request more money within the fiscal year.

“…it is apparent there is little support for sustaining a veto. I thank Councilman Steven Colantuano for his artful management of the budget process this year and alert the Council that department directors and division chiefs will be appearing before them when these decisions do not allow for the adequate management of the city’s finances,” Avedisian wrote in his budget transmittal letter.

Avedisian  pointed out, for instance, a reduction of $525,000 in health care spending he said was troubling. During Wednesday’s budget hearing, the City Council cut line items 75-158 through 75-162 under employee benefits, reducing the healthcare for municipal, fire and police employees and retirees.

“This action will certainly lead to the situation where that line item will be over the budgeted amount in the next fiscal year and will need to have a supplemental appropriation at the end of the fiscal season,” Avedisian wrote.

Avedisian expressed confusion about the Council’s move to zero out $200,000 he’d budgeted to begin an OPEB trust study group. In his letter, Avedisian said he felt it was odd, since many councillors had expressed an interest in addressing the unfunded liability.

“A plan to start funding OPEB would have been a path to greater financial stability,” Avedisian wrote.

The mayor also warned of consequences of a $240,000 cut to the DPW gasoline budget, $15,000 from the police department gasoline budget, and another $15,000 from the fire department gasoline budget, as well as $35,000 from the O.T. Fire 1 account and $100,000 from the O.T. Fire 2 account.

Those cuts, he said, set up departments for failure this year.

The budget’s bottom line was unchanged, leaving the tax rate increase as proposed at 69 cents, setting the residential tax rate at $20.75; commercial/industrial $31.13; and tangible personal property, $41.50.

The motor vehicle exemption, which was increased three years ago to $2,000  ($1,500 more than the $500 required by state law)  remains unchanged, as does the motor vehicle tax rate, which is $34.60 per $1,000 of assessed value.

Have a look at the proposed FY16 Warwick budget before amendments

Read Mayor Scott Avedisian’s budget transmittal letter 


Rob Borkowski
Author: Rob Borkowski

Rob has worked as reporter and editor for several publications, including The Kent County Daily Times and Coventry Courier, before working for Gatehouse in MA then moving home with Patch Media. Now he's publisher and editor of Contact him at [email protected] with tips, press releases, advertising inquiries, and concerns.

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