PROVIDENCE – The Providence City Council passed a $663 million budget for the 2014 fiscal year that will raise residential tax rates while freezing the city’s commercial and other tax rates and making new investments in education, public safety and infrastructure, Mayor Angel Taveras’ office announced Monday after the vote.
In a controversial move, nearly all city homeowners will see their residential taxes increase, as the budget raises the owner-occupied rate from $15.95 to $19.25 and sets the non-owner-occupied rate at $33.75.
The move to freeze the commercial tax rate — which, at $36.75, is the nation’s highest among major cities — echoes the primary action item in Taveras’ plan for economic development. It will be accompanied by holds on the tangible and car tax rates.
The budget adds 18 police officer positions for the city whose salaries will be paid with federal funding. In an effort to bolster infrastructure and job growth, it also invests in a broad road repair effort and incorporates an initial debt repayment on a recent $40 million road bond.
It also increases the Providence schools budget by $8 million and adds two staff positions in the Department of Inspections and Standards to streamline the permit review process for small building projects.
Some of the city’s major savings arose from the $18 million saved by recent pension reform, and new revenue came in the form of $8.2 million from major tax-exempt institutions in Providence.
“This budget makes the investments needed to create jobs and grow our economy,” Taveras said in a prepared statement.