Avedisian submits no tax increase budget

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Mayor Scott Avedisian, who resigns from office today, has introduced his first no tax-increase budget, leaving incoming acting mayor Joseph Solomon and the City Council to decide whether to go along with basically level funding city departments and using $3.8 million from the city’s $22.2 million reserves or altering allocations and possibly raising taxes.

In the past two weeks, Avedisian said his administration would prepare a “maintenance budget” with options to help Solomon through the budget process. Avedisian said Solomon chose not to become engaged in the process. Solomon said he expected the mayor, who technically does not leave office until the end of the month because of accrued vacation, to prepare and submit the budget.

On Thursday, the administration filed notice with the state of a $310.7 million budget, a $2.5 million increase in spending from the current budget. On Friday the Beacon was sent the legal ad providing a breakdown of department allocations and notice of the first City Council budget hearing starting at 5 p.m. Tuesday, May 29. Later on Friday, the Beacon was advised there would be changes in line item allocations, although the overall amount of the budget would not change, including no tax increase.

While the city allocation to schools does not change, thereby maintaining the city’s level of effort, the overall school budget reflects a $1.3 million decrease in funding. The decline is in state funding, according to the city’s finance department. Schools submitted a budget request of $171.4 million, $7.5 million more than what the mayor’s proposed $163.9 million budget provides. Tonight the committee is slated to consider the department’s recommendation to lay off 71 teachers, most of them at the elementary level in anticipation of the closing of John Brown Francis, Wickes and Randall Holden School resulting from declining enrollment. John Brown Francis is to be re-purposed as the early childhood center now operating as Drum Rock.

City Council President Joseph Solomon, who will take the oath of office as acting mayor today, said yesterday morning he had heard “some figures” but had not been provided a copy of Avedisian’s budget. He said it was premature for him to comment on the budget.

According to the budget outline provided in the advertisement, the city administration projects a modest increase in property tax revenues for a total of $230.4 million, up less than $200,000 from collections this year. State aid is projected to increase from $44.8 million to $46.4 million. The fund balance drawdown drops from $4.3 million to $3.8 million.

Although Avedisian terms the budget as “level funded,” increases are built in for increased employee benefits of $2.3 million, pensions and in the fire department for overtime. Debt retirement drops by more than $1 million, as does debt retirement interest that declines by more than $130,000.

Informed Friday of the mayor’s proposed allocation for schools, Chair of the School Committee Beth Furtado said, “It would be unfortunate. Already [schools] took a hit from the state. Never have I seen this in my 12 years on the committee.”

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richardcorrente

Dear Mayor Avedisian,

Thank you.

I didn't expect you to submit a budget with no tax-increases because, well, you have never done that before.

For 17 years in a row you did something no other town or city did. You raised taxes every single year and I ran against you mainly due to our differences in that philosophy. You were a tax-and-spend kind of Mayor. I will be a "Cut Taxes - Cut Spending" kind of Mayor. I spent 700 days campaigning and $40,000 of my own money getting that message out to the 80,000 taxpayers that are paying the tab and it worked! They rallied; delivered my message LOUDLY to their Council-people and when you tried to introduce 29 tax-increasing amendments to the 2017 budget the Council acted according to the wishes of their constituents. We proudly ended the tax-and-spend era and the City is still functioning smoothly.

I can't think of even one piece of Warwick legislation that is worth the money the taxpayers paid. Some are good. Some...not. But not one Mayor Avedisian, is worth the money the taxpayers paid. That's why I am so against more taxes. The taxpayers just can't afford them.

As far as acting Mayor Joe Solomon choosing NOT to "become engaged in the process"?? Are you kidding me? He'd better become engaged. If he wants to beat me in the election, he'd better become VERY engaged.

The 80,000 taxpayers that are paying the tab are watching!

Happy Spring everyone.

Rick Corrente

The Taxpayers Mayor

Tuesday, May 15
PaulHuff

Richard,

The difference between Mayor Avedisian and yourself is that many of us are sad to see him go, and many (most) of us hope that you never get there.

I don't think Joe Solomon is very concerned about having a primary against the weird guy whose idea of campaigning is waving at passing cars and spamming the Beacon comment section with pandering responses.

Tuesday, May 15
CrickeeRaven

Hello PaulHuff:

Thank you for outlining the stark differences between Mayor Avedisian and the make-believe mayor, and Acting Mayor Solomon's chances for an easy primary win over him.

I would also point out another unfortunate distinction of the make-believe mayor: His lack of restraint in humiliating himself by repeatedly posting false statements:

- "I spent 700 days campaigning and $40,000 of my own money getting that message out to the 80,000 taxpayers that are paying the tab and it worked!"

False. The make-believe mayor lost the 2016 mayoral race, 65% to 35%. His message did not work. There are not 80,000 taxpayers in Warwick -- and, in light of another false statement of his, that 5,800 taxpayers "left" in the last decade, he is contradicting his previous lies with more lies

- "[W]hen you tried to introduce 29 tax-increasing amendments to the 2017 budget..."

False. Mayor Avedisian did not introduce amendments to the FY18 budget -- the city council did. And the city council's budget raised spending by $6.5 million while counting on an unrealistic 99-percent tax collection rate -- which has resulted in a $4.2 million operating deficit going into FY19.

These facts have been repeated to the make-believe mayor multiple times, proving yet another defect in his character that honest, taxpaying voters will keep in mind when they reject his candidacy: His unwillingness to correct his many false statements.

Tuesday, May 15
richardcorrente

Dear PaulHuff,

I respect your comments in as much as they are stated by a real person who uses his real (I assume) name.

I hope you're right Paul.

I hope Joe Solomon doesn't feel concerned about beating me. That level of arrogance will cost him. Maybe it will even cost him the election. In the mean time, I will continue my many forms of campaigning such as the waving at passing cars as you mentioned. I find it to be very successful and cost effective. If you have a better idea, I'd like to hear it. If Solomon, or any other opponent is doing ANYTHING AT ALL to attract the voters, I'd like to hear that as well, because even you have to admit, what I am doing to attract the voters is better than nothing, which is what Joe Solomon and anyone else is doing at the moment.

Happy Spring PaulHuff.

Happy Spring everyone.

Rick Corrente

The Taxpayers Mayor

Tuesday, May 15
CrickeeRaven

PaulHuff:

You have successfully exposed the make-believe mayor's lack of restraint in making delusional and false statements.

"[W]hat I am doing to attract the voters is better than nothing, which is what Joe Solomon and anyone else is doing at the moment."

False. Serving on the city council for 18 years and maintaining direct contact with voters, as Acting Mayor Solomon has done, is not "nothing." It is also far more valuable to honest, taxpaying voters than posting free political advertisements on the Beacon's website, refusing to answer questions about clearly unethical campaign finance activities [like paying office rent to someone who previously paid the make-believe mayor's property taxes], and repeatedly complaining about the use of screen names on a website that he neither owns nor manages.

Acting Mayor Solomon will need to expend very little effort for Warwick voters to support him over the make-believe mayor.

Tuesday, May 15
Thecaptain

The fact of the matter is that I am overjoyed by the departure of the union pandering, nepotism mayor that has left this community with $900 million in unfunded liabilities.

Unfortunately, due to the lack of engagement by our residents, they accept the same comments that the failed mayor David Ciccillini made upon his departure. "I am leaving the city in excellent financial shape. Just like the comments that this lying, cheating, pandering, nepotist mayor has done to this city.

For the people that dont pay attention, you should all be ashamed of yourselves. For the victims whose children go to school in substandard facilities, with substandard teachers, producing substandard results, take a lesson - YOU DESERVE THE GOVERNMENT THAT YOU IGNORE OR THAT YOU VOTE FOR.

As far as Corrente, the fake mayor, he still cannot point to one line item in the budget that he could cut , nor can he substantiate how he would do it. But that is no epiphany, since he was unable as a mortgage broker, not to enter into a predatory mortgage which resulted ultimately in the loss of his house, his tax sale, his delinquent taxes, and delinquent utilities, and the ultimate forcible removable of him from the property. (AS IS INDICATED IN THE COURT DOCUMENTS)

Tuesday, May 15
Scal1024

Thursday September 1st Corrente (the tax delinquent, lying, pandering, fake mayor) wrote the following on this very Beacon comment section in response to Joe Solomon Jr running for re election:

"They say the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. He hasn't. His father is a class act and Joe Jr is the next generation. I have listened to him agree with those in the state house and I have heard him disagree. In both cases it was the same level of "total respect". I support this great young man and I recommend that the reader does as well."

Here we witness Corrente double talk. He had no problem w/ Joe Solomon and even praised him as a class act. Rick had no problem with his energy or effort here. Corrente only has a problem with Joe Solomon because he declared he's running for mayor. Rick Corrente will say anything to try and get elected. There is no lie he won't tell (see his record of paying taxes), no line item he would cut (see his debate where he embarassed himself more than he does on here), and no interest group he won't pander to (see any school committee post). The man is an erratic liar w/ a record of unpaid bills, eviction, foreclosure, tax delinquency and litigation. He can't possibly be in charge of the bills of this city, its budgets or any finances. He doesn't even understand how the schools are funded, or how much of the schools budgets are salaries and benefits. Voters will continue to see through this lying fraud.

Tuesday, May 15
CrickeeRaven

Nailed it again, Scal. The only thing I would add is that, when the votes are tallied and the make-believe mayor fails yet again, he will have no one to blame for his loss except himself -- and yet he is far too delusional and arrogant [as proven by the comments he has so willingly and frequently posted on this website] to actually realize that.

Like many other commenters, I eagerly await the first opportunity to join the thousands of honest, taxpaying voters who will reject the make-believe mayor in the expected primary, with the hope that it will put an end to his desperate attempts to be considered anything other than a minor footnote in Warwick election history, as the first candidate to lose to two different mayors in consecutive elections.

Wednesday, May 16
WwkVoter

I keep reading good things here about Joe Solomon. I think that's reassuring.

As to Cote's comment about the lack of voter engagement, I agree. Wish people would pay more attention to city issues.

Wednesday, May 16
bendover

A memo for dick corrente; Are you under a Doctor's care and are you under the influence of any psychotropic drugs? If not, you should consider it and get some professional help. You are mentally ill continuing this folly of "taxpayers mayor". dick, get some help, you are not a well man. Frankly, you could not get elected dog catcher...GET HELP.

Wednesday, May 16
igor1113

Mayor Avedisian presided over a city budget that gave us 17 tax raises in 18 years and on the 18th, he did not make any effort to return to the poor taxpayer any refund when there was a surplus. So much for the RINO hogwash about being "fiscally conservative and socially liberal". He is and was and will be part of the Deep State which has us by the short hairs.

5 days ago