NEWS

Council revisits, approves capital budget, tax levy

Posted 5/17/22

By EMMA BARTLETT

City Council met Monday night at Mayor Ken Hopkins’ request for the reconsideration of the FY 2023 capital budget and tax levy; the council unanimously approved both …

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NEWS

Council revisits, approves capital budget, tax levy

Posted

By EMMA BARTLETT

City Council met Monday night at Mayor Ken Hopkins’ request for the reconsideration of the FY 2023 capital budget and tax levy; the council unanimously approved both (8-0).

In the budget adoption meeting on March 4, the council voted 6-3 against the city’s amended budget which resulted in the passage of the proposed budget but not the passage of the capital budget.

Council majority leader John Donegan said the motion that night was on both budgets and there was the assumption that the term budget included both the operating and capital and would go through as originally proposed.

At the meeting, Attorney Stephen Angell informed the council that failure to pass the capital budget created several issues: one, the city is unauthorized from pursuing any projects on the capital list such as road paving and school projects; two, the city is already in a number of capital projects that have contractual arrangements.

Donegan said it’s critical that the city fund projects like road paving and efforts to modernize/rebuild schools in the community.

Angell added that the resolution adopting the capital budget and capital improvement program  submitted by the mayor for FY 2023 did not include the turf fields that were originally proposed in the capital budget. Additionally the $1.5 million allocated for Budlong Pool was removed from the budget since it had not gone through the proper procedure of being added to the capital budget and would open the city to legal action if left on the budget.

As for the tax levy, Angell said the council has a duty to provide a tax levy to fund the city. Otherwise, the failure to do so financially disables the city since Cranston could not send out tax bills or collect taxes. In order for the city to have a balanced budget, taxes need to be collected.

City wide councilwoman Jessica Marino said the votes on Monday were procedural in nature and not substantive. She said she whole heartedly stands by her prior votes – voting that Hopkins’ budget was a failure because he was not honest with the financial reality facing the city. She said he brought up the city’s $3 million surplus at the year’s end but then appeared before the council with the $12 million in deficits.

City wide councilwoman Nicole Renzulli shared her thoughts on the capital budget and tax levy approval.

“I’m very relieved my colleagues came to their senses and came back to the table to uphold their fiduciary duties, voting to pass the capital budget and tax levy for fiscal year 2022/2023,” said Renzulli.

“The administration is very pleased that the council acted responsibly and fulfilled their obligations,” said Chief of Staff Anthony Moretti. “Unfortunately it took a redo to get the result. We think they became more informed afterward that their initial actions could have been devastating for the city.”

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