NEW: Avedisian Unveils FY2013 Budget Proposal
Thursday, May 17, 2012
Mayor Scott Avedisian today released his proposed FY2013 budget, which increases the motor vehicle tax exemption to $1,500, contains no wage increases for union or management employees, factors in increased employee contributions toward the cost of their health care benefits, and maintains contributive support funding for both human services and recreational groups.
The proposed overall spending plan totals $279,738,922 and contains a mix of residential, motor vehicle and commercial rates to more equitably distribute the tax burden while assuring that municipal programs and services are maintained. Of that amount, $156,240,638 has been allocated for the School Department and $123,498,284 will fund municipal services. Avedisian is recommending that the City Council authorize the School Department to borrow voter-approved general obligation bonds to complete building upgrades and fire code upgrades required by state law rather than incorporating the money into the operating budget as the School Department has proposed.
The proposed residential tax rate would be $18.14 per $1,000 assessed valuation and commercial/industrial and tangible personal property would be $27.21 and $36.28, respectively. The proposed tax rate levy is an increase of 1.6 percent, less than the maximum 4 percent increase allowable under the property tax law.
The increase in the motor vehicle tax exemption, to $1,500 from the current $500 rate, will mean that 25 percent fewer vehicles – or approximately 20,750 – would be taxed in FY2013 than in the current year.
To put the budget in perspective, the average home in the City is valued at $208,000. The proposed tax increase would mean that this homeowner would pay an additional $93.60 in property taxes. However, if that homeowner has one vehicle, factoring in the proposed $1,000 increased exemption, that total increase would drop to $59. If that homeowner has two vehicles, then the net tax increase for the upcoming fiscal year would be $24.40 – or roughly 47 cents per week.
Other items of note:
A complement of 217 firefighters has been budgeted. A new firefighter class is anticipated after the start of the new fiscal year. The budget contemplates possible grant funding to cover the salaries of eight new firefighters. If the grant is not received, those firefighters will not be hired. A full complement would allow for a reduction of overtime costs'
The allocation of $65,000 in the current fiscal year for professional assistance relative to airport issues has been eliminated due to the City Council’s recent agreement with the Rhode Island Airport Corporation and the Council’s subsequent withdrawal of its lawsuit;
Capital budget is limited to $145,000 for computer and printer replacement, a MUNIS software upgrade and a new copier for the Pilgrim Senior Center;
The budget also provides for the lease-purchase of a total of five sanitation trucks to replace some of the Department of Public Works’ aging fleet;
Proposed state formula aid funding for FY2013 is recommended for $2,970,080 – a marked decrease from the $20,468,070 the city received in FY07.