Mayor Diossa Signs City of Central Falls FY 2017 Budget Into Law

Mayor Diossa Signs City of Central Falls FY 2017 Budget Into Law
Adopted budget lowers city’s residential property tax rate for first time in 10 years
CENTRAL FALLS, R.I. – Mayor James Diossa has signed into law the City of Central Falls’ $18 million Financial Year 2017 budget, which lowers the residential property tax rate for the first time in a decade. The residential tax rate of $27.63 has been lowered to $26.25, a 5 percent decrease.

“Signing this budget into law means providing much needed tax relief to Central Falls homeowners” said Mayor Diossa. “I’m proud that this budget is able to lower taxes for our residents while maintaining our bedrock commitment to fiscal responsibility as we continue our re-emergence from bankruptcy. I want to thank Council President Ferri and all of the members of the City Council for working collaboratively with me to pass this budget.”

In addition to lowering the residential tax rate, the adopted FY 2017 budget increases the homestead exemption by 15 percent, increases the senior citizens’ homeowner tax exemption by 25 percent, increases the veterans’ exemption by 25 percent, and freezes the car tax exemption.

To encourage economic development and provide predictability for local business, the budget freezes the city’s commercial tax rate and tangible tax.

The budget also makes investments in afterschool programming, infrastructure improvements, public safety, and in the city’s Redevelopment Agency.

Overall, the adopted budget does more with less by spending 1 percent less than last year’s budget.

The Financial Year 2017 budget is the last under a court approved 5-year bankruptcy plan. The plan called for maximum 4 percent residential property tax increase in each year. However, due to the city’s post-bankruptcy record of fiscal responsibility, Leonard Morganis, Central Falls’ Administration and Finance Officer, charged by the court with monitoring implementation of the 5-year bankruptcy plan, approved lowering the residential property tax rate ahead of schedule.

Budget Highlights:

Total Budget
- $18,010,908

Tax Rates and Exemptions
- 5% residential property tax rate decrease
- 15% increase in homestead tax exemption
- 25% increase in senior property tax exemption
- 25% increase in veteran’s tax exemption
- Commercial tax rate freeze
- Tangible tax rate freeze
- Car tax exemption freeze

Fiscal Responsibility
- FY 2017 budget spends 1% less than previous year budget
- 107% of Annual Required Contribution to Central Falls pension plan
- $100,000 contribution to future OPEB liability

Youth Investments
- Increased after school programming
- Summer midnight basketball league
- Renovated space for the Innovation Lab in partnership with the Central Falls School District and Rhode Island College

Economic Development
- $100,000 for Dexter and Broad Street commercial corridor façade improvements
- $600,000 for Central Falls Redevelopment Agency

- $200,000 for roadwork improvements
- $200,000 for sidewalk repair and replacement
- Conversion of city’s street lights to efficient LED technology
- Improvements at Illinois Street Park and other parks and recreational areas

Public Safety
- Federal grant funding for 4 recently hired new firefighters
- New School Resource Officer at Calcutt Middle School

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