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East Greenwich Town Council Approves FY 2019 Town BudgetNO Tax Increase for Second Year in a Row
East Greenwich, Rhode Island – Continuing to reverse a decades-long trend of year-over-year tax increases, the East Greenwich Town Council on Wednesday approved a $62.2 million Fiscal Year 2019 consolidated budget to operate the town and schools that contains no increase in the tax levy. The budget has a tax rate decrease and funds operations without incurring any new debt.
“East Greenwich taxpayers have said enough is enough, and we have heard them loud and clear,” said Sue Cienki, president of the East Greenwich Town Council. “We have worked very hard over the last two years to make sure we are being fiscally responsible to taxpayers. At the same time we continue to ensure that we have one of the top school systems in the state and to provide the services our residents demand and expect.”
The budget includes $35.1 (56%) million to fund East Greenwich Public Schools, and $27.1 million (44%) to operate municipal services. The Council, working with Town Manager Gayle Corrigan identified savings through efficiencies in the fixed annual operating costs which include the elimination through attrition of seven full-time positions on the municipal side, health insurance reductions gained as a result of the engagement of the Town’s first health insurance broker as well as line-by-line budget reductions in each department. The budget also includes $1.2 million to cover the costs of firefighter overtime.
“Due to the structural changes inherent in the 2016-2019 Collective Bargaining Agreement with the firefighters union, it was absolutely necessary to provide for this level of spending in the budget,” said Cienki. “These funds are being provided, while at the same time the Council has directed the Town Manager to continue to look at cost-cutting measures in the Fire Department including shared-services agreements with neighboring municipalities, out-sourcing components of the fire and EMS services and other proposals to achieve efficient operations at reasonable costs. The fact remains that $1.2 million of overtime expense for a town of 13,000 residents is simply not sustainable in either the short-or-long term.”
As a result of this budget the tax rate will be $23.00 per thousand in assessed value. The median single-family home tax bill will be $9,573 for FY 2019.
“We want our residents to be able to age in place, to be vested and invested in our wonderful community for the long-haul. We know people come to East Greenwich because of our great schools, but there is so much more here in our vibrant community, and we want our residents to be able to stay here and enjoy all East Greenwich has to offer in addition to our great schools. We believe the strong and prudent fiscal measures we are putting in place will go a long way to achieving our long-term success,” said Cienki.