WARWICK, RI — Mayor Joseph Solomon announced this morning that the city had filed its FY18 audit with Rhode Island Auditor General Dennis Hoyle, crediting “austerity measures” he put in place with preserving the city’s surplus, which stood at about $22.6 million as of June 30, 2018.
Former Mayor Scott Avedisian previously told WarwickPost.com that the new audit, dated July 23, disproved Solomon’s prior claims at his state of the city address that the surplus could fall to between $13 million and $15 million.
Solomon, appointed to the mayor’s office with less than 50 days left in FY18, claimed credit on Monday for eliminating the amount needed from the so-called “rainy day fund” for that fiscal year, from an estimated $4 million, and for adding $100,000 back to the account.
When combined with reductions from other surplus accounts, the city used $1.5 million of its reserves instead of the original estimate of $4 million, Solomon said.
“Tight controls on spending resulted in the city drawing down the total fund balance by less than half the projected amount,” Solomon said in the statement. “This shows that his plans to bring city spending back under control are working and that the city fund balance has begun to stabilize once again.”
Solomon also explained that the city is currently preparing the FY19 audit, which included “austerity measures” for what he termed a “maintenance budget” and a state-capped tax increase, the first of two tax hikes in the past two fiscal years.
This March, Solomon imposed a 5 percent spending cut for city departments and withheld raises for nonunion employees, among other budget adjustments.
As of its published date, the FY18 audit was filed more than 200 days after its original due date of Dec. 31, 2018; Solomon did not reply to a WarwickPost.com inquiry about the delay (he had previously blamed the delay on vacations taken by the Blum, Shapiro staff), nor did he answer a question about when the study he requested from Rhode Island Expenditure Council may be released.