WOONSOCKET – May 31 will be the date the City Council discusses Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt’s proposed budget for 2024 after the mayor submitted the budget on Monday.

The budget, according to the mayor, recommends no increases to the city’s current property tax rates, and again reflects the state’s complete phase-out of the motor vehicle tax.

(15) comments

John Ward

The mayor’s proposed fiscal year 2024 budget reflects a more than 2% increase in spending over the fiscal year 2023 approved budget.

Though she claims in her budget message, “To not raise taxes, I and my finance team had the unpleasant task of cutting back needed expenditures that were requested by department heads…” Nothing could be further from the truth.

The reality is that the budget has been prepared to deceive readers into believing that. Included as “negative expenses” are two lines that falsely reduce spending instead of treating the receipt as revenue, or to use the technical term, “other financing sources” to support the increased spending.

When you properly move the $946,800 proceeds from the sale of the old middle school and the $281,40 of the funds in the Energy Efficiency Improvement Fund that should be saved for energy efficiency projects (page 109) into the revenue as Transfers from Other Funds, the total spending is now showing an increase of 1.2%.

Now, add to that the fact that the mayor plans to spend an additional $724,183 of ARPA funds that are not included in the spending plan but footnoted for a separate appropriation, the spending increase is now over $1.5 million compared to FY2023 approved spending; an increase of 2.34%!

So, the mayor uses over $1,950,000 of other “one time available” funds to offset the $1,515,354 of increased spending and calls it cutting back. I call it budgetary gimmickry and not an honest way to prepare a city budget. Using resources meant for future energy improvements, or ARPA funds meant for true revenue loss is dishonest financial sleight of hand. Don’t be fooled, the city and its taxpayers will be worse off in the long run with this kind of budget.

Cheri Bolen

Since Woonsocket`s Charter claims the Mayor receives a salary of " wait for it" , 8,400 ( Eight Thousand and 400 hundred dollars a year ) and that Charles C. Baldelli is STILL a member of of the Woonsocket Housing Authority Board of Commissioner`s what do you expect from a Mayor who claimed Jim Cournoyer was more financially savvy than she is.

Jim Shevlin

Where is that Charter Commission ?

It actually states in the Charter the Mayor shall make at least $8,400. Sounds like a useful cut than the large raise LBH gave herself .


If you go to The Woonsocket City website under GOVERNMENT / BOARDS / Housing Authority/ IT does list Charles C. Baldelli and 6 other members who no longer sit on the WHA Board.


It upsets me, as a Woonsocket taxpayer and homeowner, to see duly elected council members spoken to with snark and rudeness by certain department heads. Why can't they just answer questions politely and professionally?

It's tiresome to hear the excuses about the council members not getting financial reports. It was a bit refreshing to hear Councilman Soucy find his voice on this subject.

I hope we get reports on the cost of the gravel sales- costs of cutting trees, profit to date, etc. My family heard Mr. D'Agostino mumble some numbers, but we haven't seen anything in print. When will we hit the million dollars (+) in profit?

It would be sad if the millions promised don't come to fruition, after taking away the track from the public.

Thank you to Mr. Ward, Mr. Mancieri, and Mr. Thompson for your efforts.

I still don't understand the reluctance to inspect buildings, especially the one on Cumberland St the city plans to buy.

I also don't understand taking a building off the tax rolls for some "temporary" use.

What's happening with Synagro and the wastewater treatment plant? Again, I'd like the information provided to the press, not just mumbled about at the end of council meeting.

I agree with Mr. Mancieri about the $13,000 the city has to pay to restore wetlands that were destroyed when the homeless camp was removed. The taxpayers shouldn't have had to pay for this, but it wasn't handled right, IMO.

I don't agree about the dignity bus, though, nor do I want to see a harm reduction center in the city, which I think the council can restrict?

I do hope the council reviews the budget carefully, and gets the reports they've asked for, so they can make thoughtful decisions, and not just rubber stamp the budget.


It is very disconcerting that the council does not have to reports necessary to make an informed decision regarding the budget. I was hopeful that the administration would show that the last council was just being impatient due to extenuation circumstances, but the attitude I have witnessed from the administration in more than one department has been unprofessional. I continue to see attacks on people rather than professional discussions on merits of ideas and policies. I am very disappointed and hope that the council will remain professional but stand on principle and follow the charter.

Tom Devito

I don’t think not getting financial reports is a new issue. Also Ms. Johnson does have 29 years of experience, one year repeated 29 times. I also love the comment by Ms. Baldelli-Hunt “as there was terminology regarding the enterprise fund that councilors wouldn’t understand unless they took the time to go in and learn about it”. Does Ms. Hunt actually understand the fund and the finance’s.


SO...the Woonsocket City Council, almost all of whom supported the existing Mayor in the last election, are finally learning that, overall, things are horribly done at City Hall...just as were the complaints of many of the old Council Members that were unelected!!

Ya think that it is, maybe, finally being recognized that Mayor Baldelli is an Incompetent, is clueless as to what is taking place (Not Taking Place)...and she needs to go???

Jim Cournoyer

The City of Woonsocket spends in excess of $175 million per year.

As even Councilman Soucy - who was happy to close his eyes and look the other way on this issue, which was one of the charges contained in the Mayor’s removal complaint - notes that it is “disturbing” that the Council has only received three reports in the past 18 months.

That’s completely unacceptable and inexcusable. If this happened anywhere else, people would be fired.

Ms. Johnston famously lied under oath during the mayor’s removal hearings when she testified under oath that she was never “given a copy of the [police] contracts” before the Council passed them on July 25 2022. That was a lie.

In FACT, Johnston was indeed provided a copy of the contracts …on TWO separate occasions PRIOR to the Council’s ratification on July 25th.

She received a copy on July 6th from the Law Department. She also received a copy (for the second time) on July 21st when the July 25th Public Hearing was posted.

Ms. Johnston’s act is getting old and at some point the Council will need to act.

On the one hand, the Mayor touted Ms. Johnston's “29 years” of experience when naming her the Finance Director, but on the other hand, Ms. Johnston says she has only been in the job three weeks. Nonsense.

The Finance Department is required BY LAW to provide MONTHLY financial reports.

If Ms. Johnston and the Mayor spent half as much time and energy just doing their jobs as opposed to trying to hide information and making excuses, the City would be far better off.

That said, perhaps if they paid Ms. Johnston her a Stipend she could get the work done.

James Peters

175 million a year and zero ability to downsize. That spells trouble for renters (oops, taxpayers) going forward.

Jim Cournoyer

Mr. Peters -

How are you making out with your tax issue? Has Councilwoman Gonzalez addressed the matter to your satisfaction as promised?


Mr. Peter’s just to piggyback on Jim’s statement, most of the council are indebted to the administration and are never going to act independently, surely they’ll give that appearance defending their independence on trivial matters, as if they act in such a way. But they are all puppets on a string being strung along by their master. I have come to recognize that this tax increase was orchestrated by the administration and they are going to defend the wall to keep it in place, why? Most of the admins voting base are probably the ones who benefited from the decrease. Most of the council are going along with this & you haven’t heard them bring it up. Maybe they stopped pretending to take action or maybe they were ordered to?

Jean Luc

It absolutely drives me crazy that D'Agostino, who is the director of Public Works, gets to join in on the discussion of the Finance Dept. Of course, he should speak on funds that have to do with his department only, but it seems that he is now part of the Mayor's office. He gets to put his two cents in on everything that happens in the city. Who is this guy? I have never seen other Public Works Directors who have as much power as he does.

Jean, I believe Woonsocket may actually hold the State record for longest-running town with so many interchangeable department "heads" wielding supreme and broad overlapping powers relating to everything that goes on within the city.



LOL!!! I would love to see that rectified. I’ve got a few off the top of my head.

1. The record for the longest running stench stench to permeate the air goes to…. Woonsocket

2. The record for the highest & most irresponsible tax increase for multiple families goes to…. Woonsocket

3. The record for having the most contentious relationships with non profit organizations or anyone for that matter goes to…. Woonsocket

4. The record for the least amount of transparency goes to… Woonsocket

5. The record for taking a good game given the appearance that you listen to a citizens concern or are actively solving an issue without actually doing it goes to… Woonsocket

The problem is Woonsocket has always run on Nepotism. The same dozen or so last names run the town, they hire only their family and friends, and the result is 2023 Woonsocket. That is why nothing ever really gets done. Everyone has to make sure they aren't stepping on the wrong toes that may adversely affect their family or friends in other departments.

"I'm sorry...but I don't currently have that information, but can assure residents we are working diligently to address this issue" - sound familiar? [beam]

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