Quick Guide to Providence’s $ 540 Million Budget
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Mayor of Providence Jorge Elorza on Tuesday unveiled a $ 540 million budget proposal that maintains the tax line, sets a minimum wage of $ 15 for city workers and pays for a 50-member police academy.
The tax and spending plan would cover the fiscal year that runs from July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022. The limited-term Democrat is expected to run for governor next year.
The budget will now be directed to the City Council’s Finance Committee for further consideration, but there are unlikely to be any significant changes. Here’s a quick rundown of the key things to know.
Hold the line on taxes
Everyone likes to complain about Providence taxes, but Mayor Elorza has mostly avoided significant increases during his tenure (except when property values have soared). It looks to maintain the line again this year, with a residential rate of $ 24.56 per $ 1,000 of assessed value (and a 40% homestead exemption) and a commercial rate of $ 36.70 per 1,000. $. The car tax will be $ 30 per $ 1,000 (with a $ 5,000 exemption) and the tangible tax rate will be $ 55.80 per $ 1,000.
Most city workers will see increases under Elorza’s proposed budget, including 4.5% for police, 3.25% for firefighters, 3% for members of Local 1033 and 3% for non-union workers, including the mayor’s staff. Teachers are currently working without a contract, and they are now negotiating with the state, not with the mayor’s office.
More money for schools
You can take the schools out of Providence and give them to the state to run, but you can’t stop the state from asking Providence for money. The mayor’s budget would increase the city’s contribution to the school system by $ 4.8 million to $ 134.9 million.
A minimum wage of $ 15
As the state moves towards a minimum wage of $ 15 for all workers, Mayor Elorza is calling on all city employees to earn at least that much in his proposed budget. This includes young recreation workers this summer.
Another important pension payment
The city’s retirement system was only 22.17% funded as of June 30, 2020. Mayor Elorza is looking to contribute an additional $ 93.5 million into the fund in fiscal year 2021-2022. That number is expected to grow by 3.5% per year until 2040, although it looks as if the city will re-amortize the fund at some point.
Mayor Elorza’s budget calls for the creation of a 50-member police academy which is expected to start next month. That’s after hiring 48 new officers in 2019. The budget also includes $ 600,000 for a pilot program to deflect some mental health calls from cops.
The return of PVDFest
Good type of. Mayor Elorza is setting aside $ 550,000 in his proposed budget for a PVDFest experience that he says will last for several months, rather than the usual weekend summer party that so many of us look forward to. The festival usually takes place in June, and even though the COVID-19 pandemic appears to be over, it may be too early for tens of thousands of people to gather downtown.
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