Creates strong fiscal foundation with reserve fund
On Monday, May 15th, Mayor James A. Diossa delivered his vision and goals for the 2018 fiscal year in his city budget address. The speech was streamed on Facebook live and you can watch here. The city budget is also available online here.
Over 50 city residents and leaders were in attendance including members of the City Council, City Judges, Department Directors, and community members along with State Senator Elizabeth Crowley and State Representative Shelby Maldonado.
“It makes me proud to say, without any hesitation, that, together, we have succeeded in building a stronger Central Falls,” stated the Mayor to a packed Council Chambers. “Our success to date is a story of resilience, of community and of hope.”
This city budget is critical for the city as it is the first budget outside the jurisdiction of the federal bankruptcy court. For this reason, Mayor Diossa highlighted the important need to continue laying a strong foundation of fiscal responsibility for years to come. He urged the city council to support his budget in forming a reserve fund, or rainy day fund, of $2 million.
“Based on the input of fiscal experts and the expectations of rating agencies, I am proposing that this reserve fund be set at 10% of our city expenditures,” stated Mayor Diossa. “This fund will be a benchmark of fiscal responsibility and a backstop for any future economic or budgetary downturns.”
Along with prudent fiscal controls, the city budget also emphasizes investments in quality of life and economic growth.
The budget makes important investments in the city's youth through the parks and recreation department so that the city can have more community events and serve the needs of our youth as we continue to plan for a community center. From after-school programming to the Mayor's youth council to our diverse and family-oriented events, the City is working hard to ensure that our kids come first.
For the first time, the budget creates a specific line-item for senior services.
"Our seniors deserve opportunities to enjoy a high quality of life and this budget invests in just that," stated Mayor Diossa. "This year, our seniors will also see newly renovated parks where they can enjoy time with their friends and grandchildren."
Mayor Diossa also highlighted that the city's quality of life is improving because our city is cleaner and safer than ever before.
- Our public works department continues to build and repair our roads and sidewalks.
- Our nuisance task force is holding bad landlords accountable and reducing the amount of abandoned and blighted property in our city.
- Our fire department is educating the community about fire prevention and keeping our city residents safe from danger.
- Our police department also works hard every day to keep all of us safe. They have invested and succeeded in creating a strong community policing unit, a great group of school resource officers, a domestic violence advocate and they will receive national accreditation this year for the first time ever.
The budget proposes a small 1.5% residential tax increase to fund these important improvements in the city's quality of life. In addition, the budget continues tax relief programs that significantly benefit homeowners, seniors and veterans.
Mayor Diossa concluded his remarks by outlining how growing the city's economy and creating jobs are more important than ever.
"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."
Mayor Diossa also outlined two game-changing projects will only continue this momentum. He pointed to the train station on our southern border which he has worked hand-in-hand with Mayor Grebien and the city of Pawtucket to finally make happen. This train station represents tens of millions of dollars in investment on our borders and will catalyze the redevelopment of over 2 million square feet of abandoned mill space.
He then pointed to our northern border and the Landing project that is finally going to be fully realized. This will mean full public access to the waterfront, a bikeway and also much-needed private investment in the building itself. Over the next year, we will all see the Landing come to life.
Mayor Diossa concluded his budget address with a message of hope.
"I believe that this budget represents the values of fiscal responsibility, investments in our quality of lief and a commitment to our economic comeback. I am confident that this city budget will continue our comeback and that, together, Central Falls will continue to make us proud."