By Beacon Staff
Mayor Frank Picozzi has proposed a $341 million budget for the fiscal year starting July 1 that doesn’t increase taxes yet increases spending by $12.6 million from this …
By Beacon Staff
Mayor Frank Picozzi has proposed a $341 million budget for the fiscal year starting July 1 that doesn’t increase taxes yet increases spending by $12.6 million from this year’s projected budget according to a legal notice which appears on page 5 of today’s Beacon.
Picozzi deferred comment on the spending package, saying in a text Wednesday that he first wanted to discuss the budget with City Council President Steve McAllister and Council Finance Chair Timothy Howe. Copies of the budget are slated to go to the City Council as of today. The council will conduct a special public meeting May 23 at 4 p.m. to consider the budget department by department. This includes Picozzi’s proposed school budget of $178.6 million, an increase of $5 million or 2.72 percent.
As for the tax rate, the legal notice reads that with an overall anticipated increase in property values coupled with an increase in the proposed tax levy the residential tax rate is $18.73 per $1,000 of valuation and the commercial rate is $28.10, or identical to the rates in the current fiscal year.
Yet what is unclear the notice reads: “A property tax rate of $19.33 for residential real estate, $29 for commercial and industrial real estate and $38.66 for tangible personal property would be needed in the coming budget year to raise the maximum levy authorized by section 44-5-2 of the general laws.” Similar language appeared in last year’s legal notice as evidently required by ordinance.
Asked on Wednesday morning how he feels about the mayor’s proposed no tax increase McAllister said that he hasn’t seen the proposed budget yet.
Heading into budget season one of the big questions has been what Picozzi would propose to give the school department.
After trimming the original superintendent budget the School Committee ultimately sent a request of $178.6 million to the city of which $134.9 million would be funded by taxpayers.
According to the legal ad Picozzi has proposed that amount which is up around $4.8 million from last year. Picozzi previously said that he wouldn’t propose a $5 million increase for the schools.
“I’m not putting 5 million dollars in their budget. That's why we’re still working on it,” said Picozzi.
As of Tuesday afternoon Supt. Lynn Dambruch said that she didn’t receive a final proposed budget number from the city.
“We’ve been in talks with the mayor but as far as we knew nothing was formalized yet,” she said. On Wednesday Dambruch referred questions to Tim McGrath, school finance director who had not seen the budget.
According to the legal ad the administration is proposing to put $28.4 million in the budget for ARPA funds, including $10.79 million in the general fund.
Another approximately $17.6 million is being proposed in the budget including:
City Hall Plaza and Rink: $3.5 million
Public Works and Safety Equipment: $2.7 million
Public Buildings Improvements: $2.4 million
Police Station - Phase 1: $500,000
Grant Matches: $800,000
Road Resurfacing: $3 million
Ward Projects: $1.8 million
Technology Improvements: $1.73 million
School Technology and Capital: $1.2 million
According to the legal ad the proposed budget includes a decrease of 60.8 percent for the Parks and Recreation department current budget for a total proposal of $795,282. The proposed decrease is $1.23 million. Management information systems has a proposed decrease in the budget of 36 percent from the current budget according to the legal ad for a total of $1.7 million. The proposed budget according to the legal ad is also calling for a decrease of 36.5 percent which equates to a decrease of $217,400.
Major proposed increases according to the legal ad includes 18 percent for Tourism Culture and Development over the current budget which would raise the budget to $757,409. According to the legal ad the proposed budget for public works is calling for an increase of 20.91 percent over the current budget which would raise the budget to $16.3 million. The debt interest line item is also calling for a proposed increase of 70.5 percent over the current budget according to the legal ad raising the total to $2.5 million.
According to the legal ad the revenues from property taxes are proposed to decrease by approximately $4.9 million for a total of $231.2 million. State aid is expected to increase by approximately $6.3 million this year over the current budget.
In the current budget according to the legal ad the city drew down $5.8 million from the fund balance. In next year’s budget there is no proposal to draw any funds from the fund balance.
According to the legal ad about $15.7 million in federal earmark grants will be received by the city.
It includes $5 million for the City Hall Plaza and Rink, $750,000 for the Conimicut Lighthouse, $3.2 million for the Lincoln Ave Water Transmission, $1.5 million for Warwick Sewer Data Transmission, and $5.3 million for Sewer Pumps and Forcemains.
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