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Budget marks three out of last four years with no tax increase
Pawtucket – Mayor Donald R. Grebien officially submitted the Fiscal Year 2017 budget to the Pawtucket City Council. For the third time in four years, the proposed budget does not include a tax increase. “As in all of the previous budgets that I have proposed, this is a balanced budget that reflects the City’s best efforts to provide its residents with the highest quality services available, at the best value we are able to achieve,” stated Mayor Grebien of the FY17 budget.
The budget includes an additional appropriation to the schools, as well as a commitment to continue to reinvest in our roads, infrastructure, and recreational amenities. “We will continue to do our part to ensure that first class education and recreational amenities are provided in Pawtucket,” said the Mayor. “The collaboration and cooperation between the City and Pawtucket School Department is truly paying off for our students, parents, employees, and taxpayers,” continued Grebien.
The FY17 budget plan also includes a number of initiatives targeted at further improving the quality of life of the residents of Pawtucket and promoting economic growth. One such item is a proposal to acquire all of the streetlights in the city from National Grid, thus eliminating $500,000 - $600,000 per year in annual maintenance costs. The streetlights would then be converted to more energy-efficient LED lights, providing the city with deeper savings over time through improved sustainability.
Last year, the Mayor proposed bringing the Leon Mathieu Senior Center onto the budget to ensure that services to Pawtucket’s senior residents are protected and not subject to cuts in federal funding. This year’s budget has brought the Senior Center fully onto the City’s General Fund budget. This proposal will increase transparency, and protect the services for our older residents. Despite decreasing federal and state funding, Pawtucket’s commitment to its seniors will remain a priority at the local level.
While the FY17 budget holds the line on taxes to alleviate the burden on property taxpayers, it also continues to fully fund the pension ARC. In addition, this year, for the first time in the City’s history, it has begun the needed financial commitment of creating a line item to begin proactively funding the City’s Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB). This trust fund will help to position the City to begin reducing the liability that was inherited without relying solely on tax increases. Fully funding the ARC and meeting OPEB obligations will continue to improve the City’s bond rating.
In a cover letter which accompanied the budget, the Mayor thanked the members of the City Council that have been supportive of the proposed Pawtucket/Central Falls commuter rail stop. The implementation of the rail stop is a project that has been a key priority of Mayor Grebien, as well Central Falls Mayor James Diossa. The Council recently passed resolutions in support of State and Federal grant applications that the City has filed to advance the project.
- Mayor Donald R. Grebien