Mayor Elorza proposes budget focused on Providence’s future

Mayor Elorza Proposes Budget Focused on Providence’s Future

Budget holds line on taxes, increases funding for schools for first time in 7 years, invests in expanded youth and senior programming, infrastructure projects, police and fire academies  

PROVIDENCE, RI – Mayor Jorge O. Elorza Wednesday proposed a $734,276,249 budget for fiscal year 2018 for the City of Providence that prioritizes investment for families by increasing funding for early education, the Providence Public School District (PPSD), senior services, and educational and occupational opportunities for youth. It also makes investments to improve infrastructure, strengthen the City’s business environment and make neighborhoods safer with new police and fire academies, all while holding the line on residential and commercial property tax rates.

“This budget reflects a pro-growth progressive vision for the City,” said Mayor Jorge O. Elorza. “In alignment with my One Providence vision, this budget makes crucial investments in kids, the most vulnerable, and in building the kind of city where families and businesses want to be.”

Citing his belief that there is no greater investment in the capital city’s future than investing in students from cradle to career, Mayor Elorza touted that the FY18 proposed budget leverages $7.1 million in investments directly benefiting Providence youth.

Highlights:
•    Increase of $3.6 million in the City’s contribution for PPSD funding, raising the total to $128,546,611 in FY18 
•    $1 million allocation for the One Providence for Youth: Summer Jobs program that will help realize a 40% increase in employment opportunities for children 
•    $1 million for citywide Summer Learning efforts made possible with a new $580,000 investment by the City, adding to PPSD’s historical allocation of $420,000
•    $500,000 in support for Providence Talks, the award winning program designed to improve the language development of Providence’s youngest residents
•    $500,000 for additional Chromebooks following  a major investment in FY17
•    $500,000 for 3D printers, equipment, and training to expand access to technology with a focus on advanced manufacturing 
•    $966,000 in total recreation programming funding for new camps made possible through an increase of $276,000 in FY18 
•    $750,000 to appoint additional support staff at 7 middle schools
•    Funding for an infrastructure consultant tasked with creating a strategic plan for school investments to rehabilitate facilities and bring them to the 21st century 

The Mayor announced planned investments in the proposed budget for FY18 aimed at ensuring safety in all of Providence’s neighborhoods.  After noting a decline in serious crimes in the city, including reported shootings, the Mayor announced funding for additional public safety personnel and programs, trainings, and technology aimed to foster even stronger relationships with the community.

Highlights: 
•    $150,000 for a municipal identification card program 
•    Funding for an additional police academy of 40 candidates and  2 fire academies totaling approximately 150 candidates
•    $200,000 in funding for specialized training and new technology for the Providence Police Department  for the implementation of the Community Safety Act (CSA) upon passage
•    $170,000 towards community police relations, data, and information technology support staff in alignment with the CSA
•    $317,000 in funding for staff and training for the Providence External Review Authority (PERA), an increase of $200,000 in FY18
  
The FY18 budget continues direct investment into Providence’s thriving and diverse communities with an emphasis on improving the quality of space and quality of life for residents and businesses. To continue to position the City as a place of opportunity for all, Mayor Elorza announced investments to benefit families and the City’s most vulnerable residents; carry out effective place-making efforts; and strengthen support for the businesses community.

Highlights:
•    Budgeted to offer a new pilot Paid Parental Leave program for non-union and non-bargain City employees  
•    $250,000 in funding to support seniors through free RIPTA bus passes and a new van transportation service 
•    $200,000 in support for Amos House’s “A Hand Up Program,” an effective program that provides employment opportunities for homeless individuals 
•    Provides $225,000 in additional funding to the Providence Community Libraries for the second year in a row 
•    $30,000 for a new community garden through the City’s urban agriculture initiative Lots of Hope 
•    New Small Business Coordinator within the City’s Office of Economic Opportunity to assist new businesses and help expand existing businesses 
•    $100,000 in new City funding for PVDFest and downtown arts programming 

Crafted with the long term future of the City in mind, the FY18 budget exemplifies responsible and transparent budgeting practices, promotes ethics within municipal government, and does not rely on one time fixes to address longstanding fiscal challenges. It also seeks to enhance the City’s infrastructure through strategic planning for investment with a comprehensive Capital Improvement Plan. Lastly, it establishes a rainy day fund for the City.  

Highlights:
•    Creates an estimated $3.5 million rainy day fund for the City through a 1% allocation of the total budget  
•    Reduces the assumed rate of return a quarter point, from 8.25% to 8%, to remain in line with practical budgeting practices
•    Provides funding to hire an Ethics Coordinator to assist the work of the Providence Ethics Commission in ensuring accountability and transparency in municipal government

ONLINE OPEN BUDGET TOOL
The details of the Mayor’s proposed budget can be viewed through the innovative online budget tool Open Budget Providence by visiting: openbudget.providenceri.gov
 
(release from City of Providence) 

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