Reflections from a Councilman
There is a quote by Theodore Roosevelt that says, “The more we know about the past, the better prepared we are for the future”. As we move ahead to 2020, I reflect on what has been accomplished this year, and how we can better ourselves in the year to come.
A few points that I take away with me from this year that I dedicate to working and improving for 2020 as your Councilman for Ward 4. One of these items is true and authentic transparency to budget practices. We have recently discovered that the draft audit was provided to the Mayor and Finance Director on October 5, 2019. The Council did not receive a copy of this until November 5th, which was twenty-one days after final budget approval by the Council. This was in the midst of budget season, when this would have been a key factor in determining our spending as a City. Though it still remains unclear why this information was withheld, I am dedicated, with the assistance of my fellow Council members, to ensure we are not denied timely information moving forward. This is my dedication to you in 2020.
The other item is unveiling what our true revenue is collected by the City. During the budget process, there were more than one dozen of revenue accounts that were never disclosed to the Council, and just as important, to you, the citizens. There were countless attempts, both during Council meetings and documented emails, requesting this information. My questions of why and how still remain unanswered and dismissed.
This is no way to run a government of and for the people. We all have a right to understand and receive a comprehensive budget, and more than just a pie chart. We have a right to fully be given the opportunity to see line by line of all monies collected by the City and not just what the administration would like us to see. We have a right to allocate monies as such, to be taken into account in the budget, in hopes that we can lower taxes for the people of East Providence.
I feel by being denied information, we have lost the opportunity to lessen the opportunity for the taxpayer, the home owner, the working citizen, the retired worker, the business owner.
My promise to you is to find a better way. To continue to fight for a dignified process in unveiling the information we have a right to access. We have a new form of government now. We deserve a fresh, new start, with the old practices, (that placed us near economic demise) finally put to rest.
I wish you all a happy holiday season. I will continue to work hard for a better tomorrow for our City.