Highlights fourth year with no tax increase, $20 million school infrastructure proposal; sustains funding increase for schools and continues critical investments in education, neighborhoods and youth
To read the speech click here.
April 24, 2018
PROVIDENCE, RI – Mayor Jorge O. Elorza today in the Providence City Council Chambers before a crowd of City and State, elected and appointed officials, as well as business, non-profit, community and education leaders, proposed a $744,965,176 budget for Fiscal Year 2019 for the City of Providence that prepares the capital city for continued growth and success.
In his fourth budget address, Mayor Elorza highlighted a fourth consecutive year with no tax increases for Providence residents, as well as strategic investment aimed to strengthen neighborhoods; expand economic opportunity for all residents; improve school infrastructure; increase year-long educational and employment opportunities for youth; and will further support community resources.
Mayor Elorza placed progress achieved in recent years at the forefront of his address. Citing the economic momentum that Providence is experiencing with widespread development, a lower unemployment rate since taking office and a surging housing market, he emphasized the need for continued neighborhood investments to maintain it.
“We’re thinking big about Providence’s potential in the new economy, as we build our Innovation Center and build stronger links to Boston,” Elorza included in his speech. “We’re thinking big about the role of the Woonasquatucket River, as it is converted from a forgotten relic to a source of energy that connects Fox Point to Olneyville and drives our Urban Innovation Strategy.”
The Mayor emphasized his commitment to improving the way business is done at City Hall through the streamlining of municipal government services and processes, the adoption responsible and transparent budgeting practices and better management, rather than placing additional burden on taxpayers. He announced that the FY19 proposed budget holds the line on taxes, encompasses a reduction to the motor vehicle tax and sets aside $3.6 million for the City’s rainy day fund. By the end of the current year, the City will have paid off its cumulative deficit and eliminate $7 million in old judgments and liabilities that predate the Elorza Administration.
- First time in 75 years that a Providence mayor has gone their entire first term without raising tax rates
- Fourth consecutive year with no tax increase
- Fourth consecutive year the City will be making 100 percent pension payments
- $3,612,000 allocation to the City’s Rainy Day Fund, following a $3,560,000 allocation in FY18
- Eliminating $7 million in old judgments and liabilities that predate the administration
Improving education has been paramount for Mayor Elorza throughout his term. The budget for FY19 reflects the Mayor’s deep commitment to supporting and preparing students for success with investments in schools and in continued and new supports.
“Three and a half years ago, we stood together and made a commitment to our children. Since then, we’ve invested in a cradle to career approach so that our kids are on the path to reach middle class by middle age,” said Elorza. “Our goal was to build an infrastructure of support, surrounding every child, so that they build the skills they need to stay on track. As a city, we said we were ALL IN for education and we’ve made a level of investments that might have seemed unlikely if not impossible three years ago.”
For needed infrastructure repairs to Providence Public Schools, Mayor Elorza announced a proposal for a $20 million Providence Public Building Authority (PPBA) bond. In addition to sustaining the $3.6 million increase in funding for the Providence Public School District (PPSD) made last fiscal year—the first increase in seven years—the budget backs the continuation of seven Middle School Culture Coordinators and Turnaround Arts: Providence, a national public-private partnership that leverages the arts to improve student performance. The City will achieve a one-to-one student-to-computer ratio this year with a $1.7 million investment to purchase additional Chromebooks and desktops. As part of a new initiative that supports the health and well-being of students, a Menstrual Hygiene Products Program for Providence middle and high schools will be piloted.
- Proposes $20 million Providence Public Building Authority (PPBA) bond for school infrastructure work over two years
- Maintains increase of $3.6 million in the City’s contribution for PPSD funding, an increase made for the first time in seven years in FY18
- Introduces $75,000 in pilot funding to launch Menstrual Hygiene Products (MHPs) program for middle and high schools
- Allots $80,000 for a Turnaround Arts: Providence Program Director
With a focus on expanding access to yearlong educational, occupational and recreational opportunities for young residents, the FY19 budget supports programs that will engage youth, connect them with valuable experiences to enhance their development under the lens of the City’s Cradle to Career strategy.
As part of the budget, an investment of $1 million in summer learning opportunities introduced last fiscal year that enrolled over 850 students in free programming will be continued. Additionally, the Providence Recreation Department will receive funding to provide additional recreation camps and offer new morning programming in recreation centers.
“Over the past three years, we have increased summer jobs by 116 percent. This year, we are expanding the range of opportunities even further to include an intensive summer internship program,” continued Elorza. “We know that meeting the needs of our youth and meeting the needs of our local businesses go hand in hand. Because of this, I personally called businesses throughout the city to ask if they would be willing to hire an intern this summer.”
FY19 also marks a second year of investment in the One Providence for Youth: Summer Jobs initiative, which more than doubled the amount of youth summer employment opportunities in 2017 and incorporated internships with private and non-profit sectors in 2018. It also continues funding for the innovative PVD Young Makers program that expands access to making spaces through a partnership with Providence Community Libraries. The Providence After School Alliance (PASA), whose mission is to expand and improve quality after-school, summer, and other expanded learning opportunities, will also see a $25,000 increase support from the City. The ten percent increase is the first in seven years.
- Realizes a second year with a $1 million allocation for the One Providence for Youth: Summer Jobs program, which more than doubled employment opportunities for youth in 2017
- Proposes $1.18 million allocation for citywide Summer Learning programming, made possible with a continued $580,000 investment by the City, adding to PPSD’s allocation of $600,000
- Includes a $250,000 investment for 3D printers, equipment and training to expand access to technology as part of PVD Young Makers program introduced in FY18
- Establishes $22,000 in funding for new morning programming at Providence recreation centers
The FY19 budget maintains direct investments in the city’s diverse communities aiming to enhance the quality of space and quality of life for every resident. To supplement work by the Office of Economic Opportunity to expand opportunities for low-income, unemployed and underemployed residents, the budget allows for the hiring of a deputy director. The budget also continues support for critical community resources including the Providence Community Libraries and Amos House’s “A Hand Up Program” that provided employment to 350 individuals experiencing homelessness and helped 40 secure full time positions. A Deputy Licensing Administrator is supported through this budget to provide additional support for those doing business with the Department of Licensing. A Purchasing Strategy Manager entrusted to analyze market trends and streamline purchasing is also supported. Lastly, $350,000 is set aside for downtown arts programming and to continue PVDFest.
“And while some people are coming for our incredible restaurants or our world class architecture, thousands are coming this June for our fourth year of PVDFest,” said Elorza. “As our signature arts festival, PVDFest transforms Downtown and converts streets into stages, public space into public art and it fills the ordinary with spectacle and wonder.”
- Funds the hiring of a Deputy Director of the Office of Economic Opportunity
- Funds the hiring of a Deputy License Administrator for the Department of Licensing
- Funds the hiring of Purchasing Strategy Manager encharged with analyzing market trends and streamlining purchasing
- Supplies $200,000 in support for Amos House’s “A Hand Up Program,” a program that supplied employment opportunities to 350 individuals experiencing homelessness and helped 40 secure full time employment
- Maintains $225,000 in additional funding to the Providence Community Libraries for the second year in a row
- Level-funds $350,000 for PVDFest, Providence’ signature arts festival and other downtown arts programming
The details of the Mayor’s proposed budget can be viewed online by visiting http://providence.budget.socrata.com.