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May 26th, 2012

City's bond rating downgraded -- again

May 26, 2012

WOONSOCKET – Citing continued erosion of the school department’s finances, Moody’s Investor Service downgraded the city’s bond rating from Ba2 to B2 Thursday, three notches deeper into junk territory.
Moody’s said the city remains on watch for further downgrades. Meanwhile, Fitch Ratings, which already pegs the city’s bond rating at a junk-level BB-, is scheduled to reevaluate the assessment next week and could follow Moody’s lead, said Finance Director Thomas M. Bruce III.

State intervention imminent, city's path murky

May 26, 2012

WOONSOCKET – After an eleventh-hour parliamentary maneuver in the House killed his supplementary tax plan, Mayor Leo T. Fontaine said it’s inevitable that a state budget commission will take over the city’s finances, injecting more uncertainty than ever into the city’s financial picture.

Landmark surpasses final hurdle to sale

May 26, 2012

WOONSOCKET — Three days after the Rhode Island Department of Health gave its blessing, state Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin Friday announced he has approved - with conditions - the proposed sale of financially-troubled Landmark Medical Center and Rehabilitation Hospital of Rhode Island to Steward Health Care System, a for-profit Massachusetts hospital group.
Kilmartin's decision, which finally paves the way for the sale, came just days after State Health Director Michael Fine announced his decision to approve the deal, under which Landmark would become a for-profit hospital.

May 24th

House stalls tax bill

May 24, 2012

PROVIDENCE — In a shocking, tearful reversal of a stand she took two days before, Woonsocket Rep. Lisa Baldelli-Hunt torpedoed the bill that would have allowed Woonsocket to impose a 13 percent supplemental tax, legislation city leaders say was vital in order to avoid the need for a state budget commission.

Monument to get attention on Memorial Day

May 24, 2012

WOONSOCKET — The monument at the center of a simmering feud between the city and a Wisconsin atheist group will get some special attention on Memorial Day.
There will be a wreath-laying ceremony at Place Jolicoeur, the first holiday rite of its kind at the site of the monument in recent memory.
Led by Mayor Leo T. Fontaine and members of the United Veterans Council, the ceremony will take place at noon, after the Memorial Day Parade.

$69.8 million school budget gets first approval

May 24, 2012

WOONSOCKET — It took multiple meetings and a line-item-by-line-item spending review but on Wednesday the School Committee finally came to terms on how much money it needs to spend during the 2012-2013 school year.
Four members of the panel gave a unanimous first passage to a budget of $69.8 million after School Committeeman Christopher Roberts made a final round of adjustments based on his meetings with the School Administration and City Finance Director Thomas M. Bruce III.

May 23rd

UPDATED: Dept. of Health approves Landmark sale

May 23, 2012

WOONSOCKET – Landmark Medical Center is one giant step closer to becoming a for-profit hospital owned by Steward Health Care this week after the health department approved the sale, with numerous conditions.
Health Director Michael Fine announced Tuesday that the state Department of Health had approved Steward’s application to buy the struggling hospital under the complex Hospital Conversions Act.

May 22nd

RAISING THE BIG TOP

May 22, 2012

Despite the persistent rain, work crews set up the big top for the Piccadilly Circus at Barry Field in Woonsocket Tuesday. Two shows begin Wednesday at 4:30 and 7:30 p.m.

Carrier covers half of embezzlement losses

May 22, 2012

WOONSOCKET – A Chicago-based insurance carrier has covered more than half of the $389,000 the city had claimed as a financial loss due to embezzlement.
Axis Insurance Co. recently paid the city $200,000, the maximum its policy allows for claims of employee theft, said Finance Director Thomas M. Bruce III.

House FinCom passes supplemental tax bill

May 22, 2012

PROVIDENCE – The House Finance Committee passed the Woonsocket supplemental tax bill on a 12-2 voted Tuesday allowing it to go to the House floor for a final vote on Thursday.
Two Woonsocket representatives, Lisa Baldelli-Hunt and Jon Brien told the panel they would lend their support to the bill “as a professional courtesy” to city officials, but both spoke about what they see as better alternatives for the city.

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