Providence City Council Committee on Finance Sends
Fiscal Year 2020 Budget to the Council for Vote
The Providence City Council Committee on Finance today voted to send a reduced FY2020 city budget of $770M for vote and passage to the full Council.
The budget calls for certain austerity measures, but the Committee made sure to fully fund the School Department, and also added an additional $1.5M to their budget so that they have the necessary tools to immediately address ongoing issues. This Council and Committee are committed to working with the school department and the Rhode Island Department of Education to help address the many issues that were recently outlined in the Johns Hopkins report.
The budget also calls for a flat property tax rate of $24.56/per thousand of assessed value and brings back a homestead exemption of 40%, and keeps all other exemptions in place (veterans, senior, widow, etc.). The 2020 budget will provide the actuarially required contribution to the City’s pension fund; will include funding for quality of life services, calls for flat funding for most departments and programming, and includes austerity reductions in few departments -including $125K worth of reductions to the City Council’s budget. All to mitigate the tax increase that the Mayor had requested on the backs of economically challenged homeowners.
“Many of our neighbors saw huge increases in their property values, some as much as 20, 30 and even 50%,” stated City Council President Sabina Matos (Ward 15). “As our team evaluated the Mayor’s budget, we did so with the goal of reducing the burden on our most disadvantaged communities, many of which got hit hardest by the revaluation process. I believe that this budget does that, and also continues to provide for the essential services and investments necessary to address ongoing quality of life issues. I want to extend my gratitude to the Committee on Finance, guided by Chairman Igliozzi, for their hard work and long hours.”
“One of the greatest obligations that this body has is to vet and pass a budget which is fair to residents, ensures that the city is meeting its fiscal obligations, and helping to move our city forward,” stated Chairman of the Committee on Finance Councilman John J. Igliozzi (Ward 7). “Every year, the Committee on Finance is tasked with reviewing and vetting the budget to make sure that it serves the constituents of our city and not of special interests. We worked very hard to help mitigate the skyrocketing tax burden that many of our residents were faced with after their revaluations, and I believe that the Council’s finance team was able to achieve that end. We will continue to meet with all departments year-round in Committee to hold them accountable, and to address any fiscal challenges this austerity budget may cause.”
Council-led budget initiatives include:
- Per the Mayor’s request, fully funded the school department, and added an additional $1.5M to their budget to address immediate needs.
- Created a flat tax rate and provides homeowner tax relief by bringing back the homestead exemption.
- Per the Mayor’s request, increased funding for Providence Talks by $175K.
- Removed all proposed non-obligated pay increases.
- Removed all proposed non-obligated new jobs.
- Level funded almost all programs and departments.
- Added four new laborers and two additional rodent control positions in the Department of Public Works to improve quality of life for city residents.
- Per the Mayor’s request, increased funding for summer job programming, which puts our city’s youth to work to gain experience and provides pathways for future employment.
- Converted ten temporary assistant recreation director positions to full-time, to help provide the wrap-around services that our students need to succeed.
- Per the Mayor’s request, froze the commercial and tangible tax rates, providing business owners with the certainty they need to prosper.
Chairwoman of the Committee on Finance and Council Majority Leader Jo-Ann Ryan (Ward 5) stated, “The budgeting process is never easy, and each member of the Committee is to be commended for their dedication to that process. My goal has always been to have a fiscally responsible budget that ensures that the city is meeting its financial obligations, provides relief for taxpayers, and includes support for the many programs that enhance the quality of life for the residents of Providence. I am most pleased that we can fund our after-school programming, especially in our recreation department, which is paramount to setting up the students in our care for success. Converting these temporary positions to full-time assistant directors will help provide much needed wrap-around care that our students so desperately need.”
The City Council will tentatively hold special meetings on Wednesday, July 3, 2019, where the budget will receive its first passage from the Council. Once passed, the second and final vote will take place on Friday, July 5, 2019.
The Council’s Committee on Finance is comprised of:
Councilman John J. Igliozzi, Chair
Majority Leader Jo-Ann Ryan, Vice-Chair
Councilwoman Carmen Castillo
Councilwoman Helen Anthony
Councilman James E. Taylor