WARWICK, R.I. — The Warwick City Council has scheduled the FY2020 budget hearings for the city starting May 28, launching the department-spanning spending review with the Warwick School Department’s $7.7 million spending increase request, about $7 million more than Warwick Mayor Joseph J. Solomon’s budget proposal recommends.
City Councilman Jeremy Rix said Solomon’s budget grants the School Department an extra $2.2 million by taking over bond payments on principal and interest of about $1.7 million, combined with Solomon’s proposed $500,000 funding increase. But Rix was doubtful that the Council would be able to grant the School Department’s entire request.
“I do not think it is mathematically possible to give the School Department the full amount that it is asking for and still keep the city functioning and paying its obligations. I’m open to the possibility of some additional increase to the School Department budget but have to reserve judgment until after hearing all of the information that will be presented at the upcoming budget hearings,” Rix said.
Councilman Steve McAllister said he is looking forward to reviewing the Warwick Schools budget.
“I will review their request and their budget, just as I will do for each department in the City. I am proud that I have voted to increase the school department’s budget both years I have been on the council. I am open to increasing their budget again this year, however I would not be able to commit to anything (for any department) until after the budget hearings,” McAllister said.
Solomon’s $322,881,043 FY20 budget also proposes $4.5 million for road paving, sewer and water infrastructure upgrades, as well as $250,000 to study the Warwick Fire Department in search of operational and other cost savings. The proposal was part of Solomon’s reaction to the Warwick Firefighter Union IAFF Local 2748 rejection of a tentative contract deal struck between union executives and the City.
The School Committee’s spending request is about $1 million less than it was asking at the end of its own budget hearings, but that number is still a few million short of the $3 million cutting goal members had unofficially resolved to trim from their request, according to School Committee member David Testa.
Warwick Post’s entire coverage of the FY20 budget process is linked below, followed by the agendas for each evening’s hearings next week, followed by copies of the general budget, the capital budget, the personnel supplement and utility funds documents: