Central Falls – On Tuesday, May 15th, Mayor James A. Diossa delivered his vision and goals for the City’s 2019 fiscal year at the Central Falls High School auditorium. The speech was streamed on Facebook live here. The city budget is also available online here.
Over 75 city residents and leaders including members of the City Council, City Judges, Department Directors, and community members attended the address, which was highlighted by no tax increase for the upcoming fiscal year.
“Our hardworking residents have had to shoulder the cost that came along with the City’s bankruptcy through tax increases,” stated Mayor James A. Diossa. “We are fortunate to be in a position where we will continue to provide the high quality services that have turned our City around for fiscal year 2019 without having to increase the burden on our residents.”
Mayor Diossa’s proposed budget continues to build on strategic investments that have propelled the City’s reemergence since Diossa took office in 2012.
The new budget continues to emphasize sound, fiscal stability. The City will be making the full Annual Required Contribution to the pension plan and will be funding the other Post Employment at $100,000 for the upcoming fiscal year which will keep the City on track to get its pension fund out of ‘critical funding’ status by 2027.
Other vital components include the doubling of the tax exemption rate on vehicles from $1000 to $2000 and an 11% contribution of the budget to the City’s ‘rainy day’ fund, which was established in the 2018 fiscal year. Mayor Diossa’s vision continues to not just focus on the short term, but also on the long term health of Central Falls.
“Why is this important? Because the next time the economy starts raining on Central Falls beyond our control, we don’t want to ever be underwater again. I want to make sure that whoever is sitting in the Mayor’s office can navigate any future crisis without hurting our taxpayers.”
Along with sound fiscal management, Mayor Diossa’s also reaffirmed his commitment to economic development in the City. He spoke of the potential of the district surrounding the train station, now named Conant Thread District, that will usher in significant development, private investments and good paying jobs for residents.
Another important project underway is the opening of a Rhode Island College workforce development hub at the former Dexter Credit Union site that will create job and education opportunities for residents of Central Falls and the Blackstone Valley.
The budget proposal continues the City’s dedication to providing the residents high quality city services and quality of life. The City will be updating the road and sidewalk condition assessment in order to create a plan that addresses any deficiencies by the time Mayor Diossa leaves office in 2021.
Mayor Diossa will continue his vast efforts in parks and recreation by providing residents with numerous events and activities including the Central Falls Car Show, Zumba classes in the new Governor Lincoln Almond Park, and rolling out a plan for senior programming to be offered in partnership with Progreso Latino.
In his speech, Mayor Diossa highlighted one major initiative for the 2019 fiscal year. He will be proposing a bond referendum for city voters to consider this November that will look to re-open a community center.
“Two years ago, I created a Commission to explore various options for re-opening the Ralph J. Holden Community Center because its closing left a hole in our city and in our hearts. Now that we have several options and now that the City is in a fiscal position to issue a bond, I will call on the voters to approve this bond for our city’s future.”
Mayor Diossa concluded his speech by thanking the resilient tax payers for their commitment to the City.
“It has been a long, difficult road. Thank you for your strength and perseverance during the most difficult times. Thank you for supporting and believing in the broadness of our vision and the height of our dreams.”
Wilder Arboleda, office: 401-616-2443, cell: 401-318-3788, [email protected]