EAST PROVIDENCE — The state-appointed Budget Commiss-ion that has been overseeing the city’s finances for the past 15 months has been abolished and will end its tenure on March 28.
Taking over the Budget Commission's duties beginning March 29 will be a municipal administration and finance officer or AFO, who will be responsible for the overall budgetary and financial administration of East Providence going forward.
The exiting plan was announced and outlined at the Budget Commission's meeting on Thursday.
According to state law, the AFO position is a mandatory requirement after a budget board departs.
State Director of Revenue Rosemary Boothe Gallogly, who attended the commission's meeting Thursday, has forwarded the names of three candidates for the $80,000 to $100,000 a year AFO position to Mayor James Briden, who will select a candidate. That candidate will report directly to the mayor and Gallogly and be paid by the city.
The AFO's primary job will be to ensure the city follows the guidelines established by the Budget Commission. Such a commission is the second level of oversight that can be implemented by the state. The third level of oversight is that of a receiver — the current situation in Central Falls.
Since its first session in late December of 2011, the Budget Commission has been meeting twice a week. Its purpose was to initiate and assure the implementation of appropriate measures to secure the financial stability of the city. The commission was established by the Director of Revenue on Dec. 20, 2011 and must remain in existence until abolished by the Director of Revenue.
As established under state law, the Budget Commission consists of five members. Three of those members — Michael O'Keefe, Diane L. Brennan and Major Stephen Bannon — are designees of the Director of Revenue, and two members — Briden and City Manager Peter Graczykowski — are the city representatives.
Fiscal advisors to the Budget Commission are Christy Healey and David Eaton.
The commission is leaving after having crafted its balanced five-year budget, which will see small tax increases over the final four years — 1.6 percent in fiscal year 2014; 1.9 percent in fiscal year 2015; .5 percent in fiscal year 2016; and .4 percent in fiscal year 2017. The commission did not raise taxes in the current fiscal year, but did implement the gradual elimination of the Homestead Exemption one percent over the next 15 years.