Editorial: East Providence's finances...A little ecstasy from agony

Posted 6/25/21

Pardon us for being a bit ecstatic with the double-dose of good news we heard last week. First, Finance Director Malcolm Moore, at the prodding of the council, finally confirmed publicly East …

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Editorial: East Providence's finances...A little ecstasy from agony

Posted

Pardon us for being a bit ecstatic with the double-dose of good news we heard last week. First, Finance Director Malcolm Moore, at the prodding of the council, finally confirmed publicly East Providence was due to receive upwards of $29 million in federal COVID-19 relief package money (See page 8), then Superintendent of Schools Kathryn Crowley was alerted by the Rhode Island Department of Education the new EPHS project had met all of the necessary mandates to receive the maximum amount of state reimbursements (On page 1).

The actual total of pandemic associated cash the city was going to get from the feds was something many had speculated about since the latest package of funding was passed on a partisan vote by the Democratically controlled Congress in the spring and signed by President Joe Biden. At that time, it was known the city would get around $19 million, but coupled with all of the relief monies approved in Washington, D.C. to date, we now know to add about $10 million to that figure.

Those monies are making the best out of a horrendous situation. And they will benefit local businesses, families and the taxpayers, in general, for the short term as the economy recovers from the toxic shock of the pandemic.

Residents will also be the beneficiaries of the EPHS project news for a host of reasons, not the least of which being they will only have to foot about 45-ish percent of the total cost ($189.5 million) for the new facilities.

In addition, the city will soon become the envy of nearly all other municipalities in the state and local vicinity because of what the new school has in store for students over the next few decades. And also, at the moment, it would be safe to assume with such a magnificent building about to open, it is playing a role in East Providence's "hot" housing market. That and the city's proximity to the massively-priced greater Boston area as well as its relatively close range to Hartford and even New York City.

With all that being written it would appear on the surface East Providence is flush with cash. That's true to a point, but there's plenty of infrastructure, both city-wide and in the schools especially, that needs attention. There are also several other projects/programs out there that will meet the requirements put on relief dollar spending.

But those are discussions for another time. It was just nice to hear some good news, a little bit of ecstasy if you will, related to the pandemic after 16 months of pure agony.

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Meet our staff
Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.