Here’s some anecdotal evidence of the stress facing towns and cities in Rhode Island. Last week, Newport’s city manager proposed a 2.47% increase in the city’s budget for this coming fiscal year:
The large increases in utility rates due to mandated system requirements have been difficult for citizens and businesses to absorb in the current struggling economy. Therefore, the staff tried to minimize any increase in the levy in the development of this draft budget.
The mandated system requirements in question have increased Newport water rates by 22.5% at the end of last year and will cause sewer rates to go up by 10.6% in July. Add to this property appraisals that are coming in 10-15% lower—the tax rate increase will have to be greater than the percentage increase in the budget. And that’s not even getting into the pension mess facing America’s prettiest town.
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