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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Charlestown makes the Top Ten

But it’s a dubious distinction
By Will Collette

One possible explanation for RI-CAN’s spike in people seeking help could be found in the latest unemployment figures. As previously reported, Charlestown’s principle food aid agency has been overwhelmed with demand from needy families.

Charlestown is now in the Top Ten among RI’s 39 cities and towns for unemployment. At 10.3%, Charlestown ranks behind, in order, Central Falls, Providence, Pawtucket, Woonsocket, West Warwick, East Providence, Newport, Cranston and Johnston

CCA-anointed Town Council Vice-President Dan Slattery may think that Charlestown is one of the state’s wealthiest communities (at #20 out of 39, it’s not), so I suppose the news that Charlestown’s jobless ranks right up there with Johnston and Cranston will probably come as a shock.

Charlestown is not immune to the hard times our entire nation, and certainly our entire state are feeling. If Slattery and his colleagues in the Town Council majority Tom Gentz and Lisa DiBello understood the situation of an increasing number of Charlestown families, maybe they would not have stood with Charlestown’s elite and rejected the $1000 Homestead Tax Credit proposed by Town Democrats.

DiBello herself is unemployed, according to a letter her lawyer sent to the Town as part of her demand for $1.5 million to drop her legal claim against the Town.

Although, according to the same letter, DiBello is receiving more than $30,000 a year in unemployment benefits. Based on 40 hours a week for 52 weeks, she gets the equivalent of almost $15 an hour, which is more than many working people make on the job.

Nonetheless, DiBello could have saved $683 if she had voted with Gregg Avedisian and Marge Frank to support the Homestead Tax Exemption. That's based on the Progressive Charlestown Magic Tax Calculator and DiBello's current assessment of $288,200.

But if she’s expecting a $1,500,000 payday from the town, $683 pales by comparison.