PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — In a few days, a new city budget will take effect in Providence.
Mayor Brett Smiley signed the $583 million tax-and-spending plan in his office Monday morning after it was approved by the city council last week.
Smiley unveiled his $586 million budget proposal back in April. New this year, public hearings were held on his and the council’s proposals in an effort to make the process more transparent. Previously, community members only got the chance to weigh in on the mayor’s initial proposal.
Despite concerns about tax rates, the budget was widely approved by the city council in two separate 12-1 votes.
The city’s residential tax rate will go up 55 cents to $18.35 per $1,000 of assessed home value, just slightly lower than what Smiley had proposed.
The budget also includes $193,000 for sidewalk improvements and $100,000 for upgrades to the city’s 311 system, which helps to track neighborhood requests like potholes. There are also investments in public safety.
“We heard loud and clear from residents that they want to see police in their neighborhoods walking the beat, riding their bicycles, investing in relationships, and so we’re excited that this budget not only provides for an academy that will graduate this fall, but in another academy to immediately follow,” Smiley said.
“We’re also investing in two fire academies, the lateral academy, which is underway right now, and another academy to follow to make sure that we maintain and manage and still provide a level of service that is exceptional and reduce overtime costs,” he added.
Smiley told Target 12 he hopes to not have to raise tax rates again during his time as mayor.
The budget goes into effect on July 1.