Masks are required for entry for all employees and visitors of City Hall and public buildings.
Last year, the City of Pawtucket’s Administration and City Council collectively came together and agreed that they would not raise taxes on our residents and business community at that time as our community was facing the unprecedented challenges with the Covid-19 pandemic. The City needed to provide levels of certainty for our community. As the Council President said at the time, it was “the moral thing to do;” however, we all fully acknowledged at the time that should there be no improvements with the pandemic and the economic turmoil it is causing, the budget decisions we made then would need to be readdressed in the future in order to continue to maintain our essential and quality of life services moving forward.
The Administration and City Council collectively reached the time where they needed to address these challenges. The necessary tax increase they chose to delay in July were necessary in order to both avoid a budget deficit this fiscal year and prevent structural budgetary issues from lingering into our future.
When the 2021 fiscal year began, we acknowledged we were facing an approximate budget deficit of $5 million. Over the last several months with increased cost related to the Covid-19 pandemic, the projected shortfall grew. Because of this, the administration working with you, the School Committee, and our other partners took drastic action bring down the deficit to today’s $1.5 million.
The City took steps to reduce expenses. We put in purchasing and non-essential hiring freezes, our municipal employees enrolled in three separate WorkShare Programs and reductions, and offsets were implemented while making sure we continue to provide essential services to our residents. These steps alone offset expenses close to $2 million.
The Pawtucket School Committee stepped up to the plate and partnered with us during these unprecedented times to provide $1.5 million one-time offset.
These actions by all will go a long way towards addressing the one-time revenue depressions facing the City due to COVID-19.
However, we balanced our no-tax-increase budget in July with a lag in hiring line that was $1.5 million above the realistic, traditional number. There was still an immediate need to rectify the matter as this would have created a structural budget deficit going into next budget that, along with our other known increases, will be too great to handle with even a maximum tax increase.
Important to note:
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- Mayor Donald R. Grebien