December 17, 2014
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Editorial
Best man for the job

When it comes to scoring Mayor Scott Avedisian, voters have consistently given him good grades at the polls and it would be a shock, given the non-campaign of his opponent, that they would do anything else this year.

Mayor Avedisian has done a good job in tough times, steering the city on a course of sound finances, good labor relations and being conscious of the need to position Warwick for the future.

Look at the last two years:

- Avedisian introduced, and the City Council approved, revisions in retiree pension benefits that apply to employees hired after last July that will save the city millions;

- For 11 of the 12 years he has held office, he has been able to draft budgets that maintain quality services and has returned relatively modest surpluses that sustained good bond rating and have given the community “a cushion” for a major disaster;

- Without the rancor witnessed in other communities, the mayor has forged 3-year municipal employee contracts that increase health care co-payments and hold down wage increases, easing the burden on the taxpayer and giving the city a clearer picture of what it can expect over the next several years;

- Mayor Avedisian played a key role in setting the stage for state acquisition of the remaining 82 acres at Rocky Point by seizing the opportunity to secure 41 acres of park shoreline for the city in 2007 and was a player in the recent deal with the Small Business Administration. With the council’s unanimous endorsement, the mayor agreed to have the city abate about $2.3 million in taxes when the sale of the remaining land is finalized. If a developer hopes to swoop in and snatch the property for the negotiated $9.65 million, these taxes would be due.

There are those who will say much of what Mayor Avedisian has accomplished wouldn’t have been possible without the taxpayer. This is true. While a Republican that one would assume would be a tightwad, Avedisian has been generous in supplying services and has never been reluctant to ask more of the taxpayers when it was needed. He has never drafted a budget purely to hold down or reduce taxes.

Jack Kirby is making his third bid for mayor, this time as an independent, and cites taxes as a major issue. Yet he has not put forward a plausible proposal to hold the tax rate down or do away with the automobile tax as he suggests. His plan is to squeeze more out of the airport but has not suggested how he would accomplish this in the face of federal regulations that strictly dictate how airport funds are spent.

Kirby’s campaign has been apathetic. He has virtually spent nothing, hasn’t issued any press releases or a platform and has avoided any opportunities to share the stage with the mayor.

For a first time since the city was incorporated, the Democratic Party has not fielded a candidate for the city’s top post. This is truly incredible in a city where Democrats hold all but two of the locally elected General Assembly and council seats.

Apparently nobody wants to take on Avedisian. Or rather, it seems, they are all waiting for him to run for another office.

Or maybe, like we, have come to the conclusion he’s the best man for the job.


Comments
8 comments on this item

Fact check on BEACON editorial:

"Mayor Avedisian has done a good job in tough times, steering the city on a course of sound finances"

Total Pension liabilities: $628,776,187

Total Pension Assets: $322,067,214

Unfunded liabilities: $306,708,973

Healthcare Liabilities: $283,220,644

Healthcare Assets: $0

Unfunded liabilities: $283,220,644

Total Liabilities pension and healthcare: $911,996,831

Verdict: PANTS ON FIRE

FACT CHECK NUMBER 2 on BEACON EDITORIAL:

"- Avedisian introduced, and the City Council approved, revisions in retiree pension benefits that apply to employees hired after last July that will save the city millions"

Total saving by 2015 - $49,362

Additional pension cost to taxpayers: $7,589,689

Total saving by 2019 - $490,538

Additional pension cost to taxpayers: $12,241,142

By the time the city realizes $1,059,300 in saving it will be the year 2023

Additional pension cost to taxpayers will be $25,620,278

Verdict: PANTS ON FIRE

FACT CHECK NUMBER 3 on BEACON EDITORIAL

"- Without the rancor witnessed in other communities, the mayor has forged 3-year municipal employee contracts that increase health care co-payments and hold down wage increases, easing the burden on the taxpayer"

Local Tax Dollars to support City budget

2007 - $63.9 million

2008 - $67.1 million

2009 - $76.1 million

2010 - $78.5 million

2011 - $79.6 million

2012 - $94.1 million

2012 - $97.7 million

Since 2007 local tax dollars to support the city budget has increased by $33.7 million or 52.8 percent overall

Verdict: PANTS ON FIRE

The previous post tell you all you need to know regarding the accuracy of the Warwick Beacon Editorial staff.

"Best man for the job"....what a joke. We can expect nothng less from Howell and the Beacon when describing Scottie. Maybe the reason nobody will run against Scottie is because the can't get fair coverage from the Beacon.

Out of control spending marks the Avedisian legacy but the Beacon won't report it. You probably get more honest journalisn in Putin's Russia or Iraq. It certainly couldn't be any more bias.

blame the teachers and their untouchable Federal backing. You want change get out and vote for Romney. Avedisian isn't the problem.

Michael....obviously you don't know the facts....Avedisian has level funded the schools for years but has spent like a drunken sailor on the city side....Scottie is the problem....in a few years we will be calling him Cicilline.

Here are the facts Michael: What's your response now regarding how the mayor is handeling the budget?

Local tax dollars to Schools versus City

2007 - $113,126,355 ----- $63,926,230

2008 - $118,064,827 ----- $67,056,675

2009 - $118,064,827 ----- $76,149,571

2010 - $123,968,468 ----- $78,525,638

2011 - $125,010,374 ----- $79,566,667

2012 - $118,644,632 ----- $94,142,096

2013 - $118,644,632 ----- $97,658,368

The facts:

Since 2007 local tax dollars to support the Warwick school budget has increased only $5.5 million or 4.9 percent overall, while the city budget has increased by $33.7 million or 52.8 percent overall

Total school spending remains below 2008 level, while city spending continues to increase to record levels each year.

The total percentage of local tax dollars allocated to schools has been reduced 14 percent even though schools employ more employees. The city allocation has increased 25 percent.

Continued property tax increases in the City of Warwick can be directly attribute to city spending, not schools.

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