Taveras introduces city budget with a 6% property tax increase

Dee DeQuattro


Providence Mayor Angel Taveras rolled out his $663 million budget proposal for the city in fiscal year 2014 and part of the budget includes a 6% tax increase for property owners.

While property taxes see a hefty increase, commercial taxes and car taxes remain the same.

Taveras said a business tax freeze is “is absolutely needed to guarantee consistency and stability for developers and create jobs in our city.”

The 6 percent increase in property taxes comes after residential property values in Providence plummeted 13% in fiscal year 2013.

“As difficult as it is to raise taxes, Providence's owner-occupied residential property taxes are still very much in line with what others pay across the state,” said Taveras.

Taveras said his new budget is committed to strong schools, public safety, solid infrastructure and city services. It also replenishes the depleted “rainy day fun” by adding $4.5 million.

The budget uses federal funds to add firefighters and police officers which would effectively cut back on overtime expenses and save $1 million.

Infrastructure is addressed with $2.9 million in debt service on a $40 million road bond. Tavares said he plans to begins repairs on the 65 miles of roads in Providence.

He also said a priority for him is to change the permitting system to help to stimulate growth of small business.

He also allocates $200,000 toward the purchase of a community library building from Providence Public library.

The budget increases spending in Providence by 3.3% overall. Taveras has allocated an additional $8 million to Providence School and an additional $12 million to public safety expenses including health care and pension costs.

To keep his promise made to union members during contract negotiations Taveras has agreed the give teachers a 3% raise, firefighters a 3.5% raise and police a 4% raise.

“I will not break my promise after bargaining in good faith. I will not sign a budget that breaks the promises we made together by agreeing to and ratifying these contracts,” said Taveras.

In order to grapple with budget concerns Taveras called on state leadership to provide the city with $5 million in state aid to eliminate the city's structural deficits.

Taveras concluded, “We have come so far, but there is still more work to do. This budget represents Providence turning the corner.”

The budget will now need to be passed by the City Council.