Mayor Elorza proposes no new taxes in new budget - The CW Providence - WLWC

Mayor Elorza proposes no new taxes in new budget

Mayor Elorza Proposes Innovative, Efficient Approach to Governing; No New Taxes

Providence Mayor's first budget proposes long-term investments, addresses structural deficit with strong management, no one-time fixes

PROVIDENCE, RI
– Mayor Jorge O. Elorza Wednesday announced a $696 million budget that sets Providence on a firm path for the future with long-term thinking, realistic expectations about the challenges we face and a plan for meeting those challenges.

“This budget maintains faith with the Providence's taxpayers by not raising taxes,” Mayor Elorza said. “It honors our obligations by making 100 percent of our pension payment. It invests in innovation, so that we have a more efficient and responsive government. And it confronts our fiscal challenges by refusing to rely on one-time budget fixes.”

The $696 million budget represents a 2 percent overall growth from the current budget for Fiscal year 2015. It includes funding for new police and fire academy classes, improvements to public works and city services, expansion of Advanced Placement programs in schools, schools building repairs and upgrades and a plan to purchase the city's street light system, which is expected to save $650 million in the coming year and more than $1 million in every following year through upgrades to energy efficient LED bulbs.

OPEN BUDGET PROVIDENCE

The details of the Mayor's proposed budget can be viewed through the innovative new online budget tool Open Budget Providence by visiting: openbudget.providenceri.gov

NO NEW TAXES
•                     No change to residential and business tax rates
•                     Commercial tax rate remains frozen for fourth-straight year
•                     Projects 2 percent expansion of the city's tax base with an improving economy

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
•                     Nearly $500,000 in new tax revenue from Providence's Working Waterfront
•                     New Business Concierge to shepherd developers and business owners through permitting
•                     Puts minority and women owned businesses to work revitalizing boarded, abandoned homes
•                     investment to help us turn the Providence International Arts Festival into an annual economic driver like the New Orleans Jazz Festival or Austin's South by Southwest Music Festival

INNOVATION AND CUSTOMER SERVICE

•                     Customer Service Initiative for City employees in partnership with Amica Insurance
•                     City Departments to accept credit cards
•                     New, simple and customer friendly online permitting

CITY SERVICES
•                     13 percent increase in Snow Budget
•                     10 percent increase in Street Sweeping Budget
•                     New equipment for the Department of Public Works
•                     Aggressive tree pruning program

PUBLIC EDUCATION
•                     Providence Schools budget up $7.2 million with increased state aid
•                     Professional development for school principals
•                     New teachers at West Broadway Middle School and two Carnegie High Schools
•                     Expands Advanced Placement programs
•                     Expands Career and Technical Education programs
•                     $10 million bond for school building upgrades
•                     Begins five-year program to repaint every school 

PUBLIC SAFETY
•                     New Police Academy 
•                     New Fire Academy
•                     Restores police foot patrols and community policing lost to previous cuts
•                     Grant funding to restore midnight leagues that keep youth actively engaged
•                     Reduces call-back hours in Fire Department, saving  $5 million in overtime 

HEALTHY LIVING AND SUSTAINABILITY
•                     Improved access and new programming in the City's nine recreation centers
•                     Purchase of streetlights from National Grid, saving $650,000 and reducing energy consumption
•                     Citywide recycling and energy challenges

(release from City of Providence)
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