Central Falls – On Tuesday, June 12th, the Central Falls City Council approved Mayor James A. Diossa’s proposed budget for the 2019 fiscal year. The budget was highlighted by Mayor Diossa’s decision to forego a tax increase for residents and businesses in the city.
“I am grateful that we were able to pass the budget for fiscal year 2019 with no substantial changes to what my administration originally proposed,” said Mayor James A. Diossa. “I am thrilled that our residents will have no tax increase while also receiving the same high quality services that have turned our City around.”
The approved budget will continue focus on the same strategic investments that have facilitated the City’s comeback since Mayor Diossa first took office in 2012.
“The City has been on a steep rise for the past few years. I am glad to be able to say that we will continue on this path for the foreseeable future,” said Council President Bob Ferri. “I am proud of my colleagues on the City Council for their hard work, time, and patience and I commend the Mayor on his dedication to fiscal responsibility.”
The new budget emphasizes sound, fiscal stability. The City will be making the full Annual Required Contribution to the pension plan and will be funding the other Post Employment at $100,000 for the upcoming fiscal year which will keep the City on track to get its pension fund out of ‘critical funding’ status by 2027.
Along with sound fiscal management, Mayor Diossa also reaffirmed his commitment to economic development in the City. He spoke of the potential of the district surrounding the train station, now named Conant Thread District, that will usher in significant development, private investments and good paying jobs for residents.
Other vital components include the doubling of the tax exemption rate on vehicles from $1000 to $2000 and an 11% contribution of the budget to the City’s ‘rainy day’ fund, which was established in the 2018 fiscal year. The budget and Mayor Diossa’s vision continues to focus not just on the short term, but on the long term financial health of the City.
“Why is this important? Because the next time the economy starts raining on Central Falls beyond our control, we don’t want to ever be underwater again. I want to make sure that whoever is sitting in the Mayor’s office can navigate any future crisis without hurting our taxpayers.”
The budget passing comes on the heels of numerous forward thinking projects in Central Falls including the opening of a Rhode Island College workforce development hub at the former Dexter Credit Union site that will create job and education opportunities for residents of Central Falls and the Blackstone Valley.
For Fiscal Year 2019, the City will continue to focus on updating the road and sidewalk condition assessment in order to create a plan that addresses any deficiencies by the time Mayor Diossa leaves office in 2021.
Mayor Diossa will continue his vast efforts in parks and recreation by providing residents with numerous events and activities including the Central Falls Car Show, Zumba classes in the new Governor Lincoln Almond Park, and rolling out a plan for senior programming to be offered in partnership with Progreso Latino.
During his Budget Address speech, Mayor Diossa highlighted one major initiative for the 2019 fiscal year. He will be proposing a bond referendum for city voters to consider this November that will look to re-open a community center, renovations to Jenks Park, and the Green and Complete Streets road improvements.
“Two years ago, I created a Commission to explore various options for re-opening the Ralph J. Holden Community Center because its closing left a hole in our city and in our hearts. Now that we have several options and now that the City is in a fiscal position to issue a bond, I will call on the voters to approve this bond for our city’s future.”
Mayor Diossa was proud to state that the budget for the fiscal year 2019 shows that fiscal stability, economic development, and quality resident services are now a staple and expectation for the City of Central Falls moving forward.
The budget will be available online at www.centralfallsri.us