The town manager was just named to Gov. Raimondo’s new municipal task force
It’s a frustrating time to be a government official. The world wants to get back to “normal” but every time you go to work you are faced with huge budget holes that may – or may not – get filled by an agreement from Washington.
So it is for East Greenwich Town Manager Andrew Nota, who said this week he’s frustrated state and local officials are not mounting a coordinated effort to troubleshoot some of the worst-case scenarios.
“I’m a little surprised on a statewide level we have not had more of an open and robust conversation on potential impacts,” Nota told the Town Council Monday night. “Part of leadership is not to subject anyone to the additional stress and anxiety that may come along with a crisis. But … I don’t see the value today for us here in East Greenwich to bury those topics, waiting for a sprinkling of millions of dollars from our federal delegation that may or may not come. I think it’s important that we put our heads together and get creative on the local level to try to come up with solutions today based on a realistic perspective on what we know is going to happen this winter when businesses are forced back inside and COVID is still present.”
To that end, Gov. Gina Raimondo just announced the creation of a Municipal Resilience Task Force. In a press release, she said the group, comprised of municipal, state, and private sector leaders, would “be tasked with developing innovative recommendations that help build economic resiliency and acquire cost savings while improving services for Rhode Islanders.”
Nota has been named to the task force. Other members are:
- James Diossa, Mayor, Central Falls; President, R.I. League of Cities and Towns; Chair, Municipal Resilience Task Force
- Jorge Elorza, Mayor, Providence
- Kate Michaud, Town Manager, Warren
- Joe Codega, Chief Economic Policy Analyst, Office of Management and Budget (OMB)
- Steve Coleman, Chief, Division of Municipal Finance, Department of Revenue (DOR)
- Michael DiBiase, President & CEO, Rhode Island Public Expenditures Council (RIPEC)
- Michael D’Amico, Finance Consultant, D’Amico Consulting (D’Amico was finance consultant to East Greenwich from Dec. 2018 to July 2019.)
For Nota, the task force is a first step.
“We need to put the hard questions on the table and we need to be able to vet some of the potential solutions,” he said. “We truly don’t know what Congress is going to do…. If the funding isn’t there, some of those conversations are going to be very challenging.”
If federal money falls short, “there’s a very good chance that we’re going to be looking at significant program reductions,” Nota said. “The sooner you get started and the more brainstorming that’s done … the better off you are in the end. We as a society need to deliberate over what we’re comfortable giving up.”
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