City’s leadership lacking

City’s leadership lacking

On Monday evening, July 2, the Woonsocket City Council convened. I’m sure those in attendance were there specifically for the two items relating to the mayor’s veto of the budget amendments. It is proven that no municipality can tax itself into prosperity, as she believes. Over the last few weeks, we’ve all heard the rhetoric on local radio that there were those on the council who had tipped their hand on their impending vote. We’ve heard the ads on radio, using one councilman’s words against himself. We were going to have a “lean, mean budget”. That there were new sheriffs in town, and Councilman Fagnant guaranteed they weren’t going to take any prisoners. (What does that mean?) He told us that’s what he ran on the first time, and he’ll run on that again. I know, Mr. Fagnant, I was there in the beginning. Tough talk from someone who recently swore he’d follow the status quo. Tough talk from someone who betrayed his conservative values, his constituents, and his campaign helpers, just because the mayor threw him a bone on Globe Park for his vote in return. Something that should have been attributed to Jon Brien.

That night’s vote should have been dealt with, using common sense, facts, and responsible accounting practices, but as we saw, it wasn’t. The amendments presented by Councilman Cournoyer should have been upheld, not because they made better business sense, but because this entire council had the moral obligation to preserve Woonsocket’s integrity, success and future. The mayor wants you to believe she’s proactive and pro-business, yet composes an irrational budget that ignored the business sector of the city, with the second highest tax burden in Rhode Island. Her budget also tried to rob the firefighters OPEB account by $548,000. Thankfully, the council amendments made more fiscal sense.

This proves beyond a reasonable doubt that her policies and her methods of governing are unfavorable to Woonsocket. Her own words about our business climate seem to coincide with her liberal policy making. Folks wonder why high tech industry won’t come to what used to be the crowned jewel of northern R.I. Her trying to pillage large amounts of money for her redevelopment agency and her blight program are further indicators of her incompetence.

Woonsocket doesn’t need an economic development coordinator, a chief of staff, or a “constituent liaison.” We need lower tax rates across the board for residential and commercial properties. That alone could attract stable companies, aside from CVS, to make this their home base. Lower the tax rates to expand the tax base, and allow the free market to dictate economic trends! I’m not an economist but I believe a common sense approach to dealing with our financial picture, as the council amended budget reflected, is a step in the right direction.

Alas, Ms. Murray ruined her chance of being a state senator. Fagnant has proven he is unfit to hold public office, by his ignorance of parliamentary procedure, council rules, general decorum, and public threats. Councilman Christopher Beauchamp is also guilty of incompetence in regards to calling a local businesswoman “an embarrassment to this city,” the same day he tried to prove he was business friendly, and we know he is not.

We were looking for those who would follow the Home Rule charter, but were left with folks who try to serve themselves. Hopefully, we won’t make that mistake again.

John Reynolds, Jr.

Woonsocket