FY2018 Budget creates reserve fund for fiscal stability in the long term
On Monday, June 19th, Mayor James A. Diossa’s city budget for the 2018 fiscal year was approved by the City Council by a 6-1 vote. The $18.4 million budget will serve as a benchmark for fiscal responsibility and a backstop for any future economic or budgetary downturns.
The budget, the first since the City emerged from the oversight of the federal bankruptcy court, aggressively aimed to tackle the irresponsibility of past City administrations by creating a reserve fund set at 10% of the City’s expenditures as advised by fiscal experts and rating agencies. The $2 million rainy day fund created by Mayor Diossa conscientiously requires a super majority vote from the council before it can be used.
“This budget represents the values of fiscal responsibility, investments in our quality of life and a commitment to our economic comeback," stated Mayor Diossa. “We have taken an enormous step forward by ensuring that the City has a safety net should it ever fall into economic instability once again.”
Along with prudent fiscal controls, the city budget also emphasizes investments in quality of life and economic growth.
The City will continue to make essential investments in youth through the Parks and Recreation Department allowing for more community events and programs. Mayor Diossa remains committed to providing a high quality of life to the children of the City. Furthermore, for the first time, the budget created a specific line item for senior services. Council President Bob Ferri noted the significance of investing in both the City’s youth and senior citizens.
“The investments for the youth and seniors are well deserved and necessary,” stated Council President Ferri. “I truly applaud the Mayor for making sure the new line item for seniors was included and would like to thank the Council for making sure it was approved.”
Mayor Diossa’s budget pledges to continue the City’s vast improvement in both quality of life and safety, as has been a staple of his administration since he took office in 2012.
The budget allows for the Department of Public Works to continue to build and repair roads and sidewalks as the Nuisance Task Force holds bad landlords accountable and reduces the amount of abandoned and blighted properties in the City. The budget enables the Fire Department to continue educating the community about fire prevention while keeping the City’s residents safe and invests in a police department that has succeeded in creating a strong community policing unit, a great group of school resource officers, a domestic violence advocate and will receive national accreditation this year for the first time ever.
The budget did have a minor residential tax increase of 1.2% in order to uphold the many services provided by the City. However, the budget continues tax relief programs that significantly benefit homeowners, seniors, and veterans. Mayor Diossa also continued the freeze on commercial tax rates.
Mayor Diossa’s outlined the importance of having a budget that pushes for the growth of the City’s economy by investing in the people.
“Investing in our people is at the heart of this budget, but, this budget also continues our work to bring people from outside of Central Falls to enjoy our City,” stated Mayor Diossa. "From Central Falls Restaurant Week to Salsa Nights to the Car Show, this budget invests in the events that have brought thousands of people to enjoy our city, spend money in our city and tell the story about our comeback.”
The budget also supports ongoing economic development efforts. It supports Mayor Diossa's efforts, along with Pawtucket Mayor Grebien, to finally build a train station that represents tens of millions of dollars in investment and will catalyze the redevelopment of over 2 million square feet of abandoned mill space. Other projects include the $12 million regeneration of Broad Street spanning from Pawtucket through Central Falls and into Cumberland and The Landing project that will bring full public access to the waterfront, a bikeway and much-needed private investment in the building.
Mayor Diossa announced that this budget has brought the City into a new era.
“Central Falls is no longer the Comeback City. We have officially come back. Now, we will continue to move forward.”