How is this, from the Providence Journal, a good idea?
The City of Providence will receive a $15,011,440 federal grant to hire 80 firefighters and stanch the bleeding from a mass loss of Fire Department personnel over the past 18 months.
And the City of Cranston will receive a $2,765,310 federal grant to hire 15 firefighters, increasing the possibility that the Fire Department will hire its first female firefighter. …
A SAFER grant carries the full cost of firefighters with fringe benefits for two fiscal years, after which the municipality must pick up the cost.
What’s supposed to happen between now and two budgets from now to make these positions more affordable for the cities? Without that piece to the puzzle, this is just the federal government using some additional deficit spending to lock the taxpayers of Providence, Cranston, and Rhode Island into a larger bill in a couple of years. (Don’t forget pensions and other post-employment benefits [OPEB], too.)
Without a specific plan to supplant the federal grant when the time comes, the local governments are acting recklessly. In offering the grants, though, the federal government is acting immorally, and not just because Senator Jack Reed’s brother Paul is a major figure in Rhode Island labor unions for firefighters who has recently been under fire over financial challenges within his union.
Rhode Islanders don’t have the flexibility for government to play these games. As very specific evidence, turn to an article out today, on GoLocalProv:
In a letter sent to the Providence City Council this week, Dulgarian informed elected officials that after talking with business owners, he learned:
* Paragon Restaurant had averaged 6200 customers a month before [parking] meters and now averages 4000 a month
* Antonio’s Restaurant had 25 employees before meters and now has 7
* Silvia Disposal hauled away 2.5 truckloads of rubbish a week from Thayer Street before meters and now has 1.5 truckloads
“Quite frankly, it’s embarrassing to have to review things of this nature,” said Dulgarian on Thursday. “Even to be off 5% on sales is devastating. These businesses are on oxygen support.”