Tonight, the City Council’s Committee on Finance adopted a new Compensation and Classification (Comp & Class) portion of the Fiscal Year (FY) ’21 Budget. The Council previously passed the tax levy keeping property taxes level and ensured no tax increase for residents. The Mayor’s Comp & Class budget, as submitted, called for the filling of vacant positions at a cost to the City’s taxpayers of just over $4 Million, and with revenues from speed cameras, school speed cameras, parking meters, hotel occupancy taxes, and food and beverage taxes all at record lows and have not yet received the City’s full Thirty-Two Million dollar pilot payment from the State (a payment from the State the City in lieu of taxes for state-owned properties), the Committee felt compelled to ensure the safety of the current workforce by removing these budgeted positions. The third and final portion of the FY ’21 budget, the appropriations portion, will not be taken up until the State passes its Budget.
“The fiscal forecast for the City of Providence is in peril,” stated Chairman on the Committee on Finance, Councilman John J. Igliozzi, Esq. (Ward 7). “As the legislative body, we have a fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayers of Providence to work in their best interest. By removing the Mayor’s request for an additional $4 Million in vacant and open funded positions it cuts the spending portion of our Budget, ensures our capacity to continue to keep our current workforce stable, and will help the City from falling off the fiscal cliff we are on. I have been a part of almost every City budget since I became a Councilman, and this is one of the gravest positions I have ever seen the City in financially.”
The Mayor’s requested positions can be revisited once the Council and the Committee on Finance have a better understanding of the state’s pilot payment notice. The City also had to make a significant investment in retrofitting offices and ensuring its workforce’s safety during this global pandemic and are waiting to learn what will be reimbursed from the state or federal agencies.
“We have a duty to protect our tax dollars for the residents of Providence,” stated Vice-Chairwoman of the Committee on Finance and Majority Leader Jo-Ann Ryan (Ward 5). “Had our fiscal outlook remained the same as it did in January, we would not be in this position. Since mid-March we have lost valuable revenues from hotel occupancy taxes, our food and beverage taxes, and state aid are significantly down which are critical to the City. However, like all cities, we are facing three crises at once an economic crisis, a global pandemic, and social unrest. $4 Million savings in vacant and open funded positions and raises is an opportunity to reduce our spending while preserving our current workforce, which is essential to keeping our City running.”
Chairman Igliozzi continued, “I want to thank my Committee colleagues Vice-Chairwoman and Majority Leader Jo-Ann Ryan, Councilors Carmen Castillo (Ward 9), Helen Anthony (Ward 2), and James Taylor (Ward 8) for their hard work during this longer than normal budgeting process. I would also like to thank my colleagues, President Sabina Matos (Ward 15), President Pro Tempore Michael Correia (Ward 6), Senior Deputy Majority Leader Nicholas J. Narducci Jr. (Ward 4), and Deputy Majority Leader Mary Kay Harris (Ward 11) for their input and guidance as we navigate these uncertain times.”
To view the Compensation and Classes portion of the FY ’21 Budget click here: https://bit.ly/3nQ10qL