government

Taveras proposes 3.3% budget hike for fiscal 2014

PBN FILE PHOTO/FRANK MULLIN
PROVIDENCE MAYOR ANGEL TAVERAS' fiscal 2014 budget proposal calls for a 6 percent rise in residential real estate rates but a freeze on the rates for commercial real estate.
Posted 4/25/13

PROVIDENCE – Property-tax rates for homeowners would rise with rates for businesses holding flat under a $663 million fiscal 2014 budget proposed by Mayor Angel Taveras Thursday.

The spending plan represents a 3.3 percent increase from last year’s budget.

In exchange for pension givebacks negotiated with municipal employees last year that are estimated to save $18 million in fiscal 2014, Taveras’ budget includes 3 percent raises for teachers and city workers, 3.5 percent raises for firefighters and 4 percent raises for police.

“These raises were a promise we made as we successfully negotiated to save our city from bankruptcy,” Taveras said in remarks introducing the budget. “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.”

On the tax side of the budget, the 6 percent average rise in residential rates comes with a proposal to split residential taxes into owner-occupied and non-owner-occupied rates while eliminating the homestead exemption.

The elimination of the homestead exemption, which was proposed first as part of Taveras’ economic development plan that was released last month, is designed to make the city’s rates more comparable and attractive compared with other communities.

The budget would raise the non-owner occupied residential tax rate from $27.11 per $1,000 of assessed value to $33.75 per $1,000. The owner-occupied rate would rise from $15.95 per $1,000 to $19.50 per $1,000.

Along with freezing commercial property-tax rates. Taveras’ budget would hold tangible tax rates and the vehicle-tax flat.

Other budget highlights include:

  • $125,000 to hire two new Department of Inspections and Standards employees who will handle permit applications for small businesses.

  • $4.5 million added to the city rainy-day fund

  • $2.9 million in debt service to pay for the $40 million road repair bond approved last year.

  • $200,000 toward the purchase of community library buildings from the Providence Public Library.

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