Mayor Proposes Budget to Council with Zero Tax Increase

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.