Tonight I was pleased to join my Council colleagues in the final passage of the budget for the 2022 Fiscal Year. This budget responsibly addresses some of the immediate impacts to residents, small businesses, and community organizations from the COVID-19 pandemic, while making necessary investments in key City services, and avoiding an increase in property taxes.
We faced a daunting challenge to overcome the uncertainty and the continued impacts of the pandemic. I am thankful to have worked collaboratively with my colleagues on the Finance Committee and the Mayor’s Administration to pass a City budget that invests in our recovery and key City services, while holding the line on property taxes. Thanks to American Recovery Plan Act stimulus funds, this budget invests over $42 million in COVID-19 relief for our small businesses, community centers, and other projects that will address both immediate needs and pay long term dividends. In addition, I am pleased that this budget invests in public safety, expands Pre-K classrooms, and continues investments in affordable housing.
Determining how to prudently invest the stimulus funds in areas of immediate need, with an eye toward longer-term fiscal stability, was indeed a collaborative effort. I especially want to thank the members of the Finance Committee— Majority Leader James Taylor, Senior Deputy Majority Leader Nicholas Narducci, Majority Whip Carmen Castillo, and Councilwoman Helen Anthony–for their collaboration and dedication throughout our many Finance committee meetings and hearings. I also want to thank Mayor Elorza and the administration’s finance team for working so diligently with us to develop a fiscally responsible FY 2022 City budget.
Thank you as well to the Internal Auditor, City Treasurer and all the Council staff who provided analysis and expert review of various proposals. I am confident this budget will put Providence on strong footing to help us recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, and provide the quality of life and city services our residents deserve and expect.
FY 2022 budget highlights are included below.
A more detailed summary of these highlights be found here.
A few of the highlights of this year’s budget include:
•No property tax increases.
•Invests in the Department of Inspections and Standards to deal with quality-of-life issues.
•Creates a new Department of Equity and Inclusion.
•Invests in public safety, including expansion of diversion efforts, creating anti-violence programs, and provisions to fund recruitment of new Providence Police officers.
•Provides an additional $300,000 for Providence Community Centers for programs that qualify for American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) resources.
•Creates a new Community Relations and Diversion Services Major position within the Providence Police Department.
•Invests $350,000 to expand the number of pre-kindergarten classrooms in Providence, increasing access to quality early learning programs.
•Invests ARPA funds for night basketball, recreational center programs for our youths, free internet access at our largest parks and recreation centers, sewer repair fund, and a $7 million small business relief fund.