Woonsocket City Council upholds cuts

WOONSOCKET, R.I. (WPRI) — The Woonsocket City Council voted to override a line item veto issued by Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt.

The council had originally voted to cut approximately $813,000 from the city’s $134.9 million budget proposal. Council members reduced spending on a line item that funds city employee and retiree healthcare by $688,503. Additionally, the council cut a $500,000 contingency account by $125,000.

Baldelli-Hunt issued a message of disapproval to the City Council regarding the cuts, which was taken up at their meeting Monday night.

“It was not something that this council took lightly, and just threw a number against the wall to see what sticks,” Councilman Roger Jalette said of the cuts to healthcare. “What we did is we used the best criteria for estimating future expense, and that is simply prior actual experience.”

Jalette noted the city had been over-budgeting for healthcare costs for the last several years. He called it “reckless” and “careless”.

Baldelli-Hunt urged council members to restore the funding, saying it would help residents predict their tax rates in the years ahead.

In the end, the council overrode her veto of the healthcare funding. However, the funding for the city’s contingency account was restored.

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