Emilio Navarro has lived in Cranston since 1997 and is employed by Colony Ford Commercial Truck Sales. He is pictured above with his wife, Yvette, and their children, Casey, Austin, and Marcus.
1. The school department, which got a 7% increase in funding from the city this year, is still short $2.6 million for the 2006/2007 budget after receiving its state aid. In January of 2007, they approach the city council and ask for $2.6 million from the city’s surplus in order to cover their costs. As a member of the council, how would you deal with this request?
I would think a request of 2.6 million from the cityâ€™s surplus in January 2007 would be way too late. The school department should be level funded come January 2007. But if this were not the case, I feel a plan should be implemented to prevent such a request in the future. The plan would call for the school department, the administration, school committee and city council to collaborate, work together, as opposed to each body working in a vacuum, to see that our childrenâ€™s schools get level funding or the appropriate money to fund the school budget each and every year. With everyoneâ€™s input, the budget should come to the city council ready for approval.
2. Although next year’s school budget is funded with another 7% increase from the city, they still do not have enough money to cover their costs and announce that they are going to have to close Daniel D. Waterman Elementary school unless the city comes up with more money for the schools. How would you handle this?
I am never pleased to see and hear about school closings in my neighborhood and I believe no educators like to see it as well. Our school committee officials are the body that decides whether schools are opened or closed. In a case of opting to close Daniel D. Waterman Elementary school, I donâ€™t see that as an option to save the school department money. In fact, it would cost the school department more, because they would have to build a new school to replace it. We will always need a school like Waterman in our area.
3. In March of 2007, the new Mayor announces that he has reached a contract with the police department, long overdue from 2006. This contract includes yearly raises of 3.5%, 4.5% and 4% for each year of the three-year contract. There is a 3% copay for healthcare. There are no provisions for increasing the number of officers or for minority recruitment, although both were recommended in a 2003 audit. Would you approve this contract?
I would not make any decisions based on recommendations made in a 2003 audit that was deemed inconclusive by the Auditor General for the State of Rhode Island. With that said, I am not opposed to yearly raises on any contract but I am not sure if 3.5%, 4.5% and 4.0% is the best way for the city to budget the increases. I would want to look at all the options to best structure the increases. For example, it might be better for the city to have a level increase for the three years, 4% each year in order to make it easier for the city to stay in line with the budget over that three-year period.
4. 2007 brings more floods, including flooding again on Fordson Ave and some surrounding areas. Would you advocate for the city to help residents in flooded areas? If so, what kind of help?
Absolutely, I would advocate for the city to help residents in flooded areas. I would like to see the city set up an emergency fund in case of disasters, such as hurricanes and floods. The City could tap into this emergency fund to help families with food and shelter. The city should also be prepared to handle families that will be displaced from their homes and have affordable temporary shelter for them. For example, the city should have arrangements at the local hotels for families at a discounted rate.
5. The New Mayor announces that he has gotten letters from Rep. Langevin and Sen. XXX asking if there are projects that the city would like to seek federal funds to pursue. These include projects for economic development, parks and facilities improvement, safety, education, and social services. What projects, if any, would you suggest for Ward 2, or for the city as a whole?
I would submit for the city to pursue federal funds for projects that would help alleviate the flooding problem we now have in Ward 2. I would want the projects to include finding ways to prevent the flooding that goes on in the Fordson and Davis Ave area. Examples may be building a pump station or spending the money in fixing local drains and keeping drains in those affected areas clear to prevent backup. Also, there are several streets like Aqueduct that are frequented by children because of the recreational facility and by having speed bumps to slow traffic down would help with the safety concerns of most residents.
More information on Emilio Navarro is available at his campaign website.