City Busy on Several Issues Early On - Mayor Jim Briden
In a statement issued by Mayor Jim Briden, the at-large councilman discussed a framework of activities the council is engaged with. The city is preparing for its move to an elected Mayor form of government, the possibility of asking residents for a bond issue to build a new high school, establishing a budget, among other tasks.
The Briden statement may have been released as a response to social media conversations discussing the effectiveness of East Providence City Council members.
"I view the Council as doing an excellent job based on the most important criteria which would include preparing effectively now for our Budget Season this Fall and concentrating on core issues in collaboration with our School Committee, Charter Review Commission and Fiscal Advisors," writes Briden.
The Briden Statement:
"The East Providence City Council is working diligently on essential issues and doing so early in the year. We are also honing in on certain topics well in advance of our Budget season in the Fall and concentrating on matters that will be of great importance to East Providence in the future.
At the outset, we established a Charter Review Commission. This is necessary and will have a transformative impact on our municipality. Obviously we need to conform our Charter to the newly amended Article III which changed our government from a City Manager to a strong Mayor which will take effect in December 2018.
Equally as important, however, is that the Commission, by examining certain Charter provisions and topics such as tax year synchronization and our surplus account, will assist the City Council in making very important decisions (that may also result in ballot questions) which will determine our direction as a City over the next decade. Next month, our Fiscal Advisor and Finance Director will work with us on the details of these issues which will include our bonding capacity and strategy.
At the same time, we are having Joint Meetings with the School Committee and focusing on numerous issues including our high school. On April 25th, our session will also concern the upcoming budget.
Prior to October, our objective is to have worked diligently on the underpinnings of the Budget.
This Spring, we need to examine the question of whether there is too great of an opportunity cost associated with pursuing tax year synchronization given the cost of the bond necessary to effectuate same. Is there a more impactful use of this money for our City? This issue warrants serious debate and analysis.
The City Council values public input on these issues. This is an important year for East Providence and our objective is to make wise decisions in the context of a long term plan and vision for our City."