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FY24 Headwinds Reduce Fund Balance Draw By $4M

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warwick-city-hall
[CREDIT: Rob Borklowski] Warwick City Hall
WARWICK, RI — The Warwick City Council got good FY24 headwinds news from Finance Director Peder Schaefer Monday before OKing a new $500K WPD Mobile Command Center and $32,000 for Harbor Master boats’ electronics.

“I would say our property taxes are going to be about $1 million dollars better than we estimated when we approved the budget in May,” Schaefer said, the first in a series of boons that reduce the FY24 budget’s use of the fund balance by $4 million.

Also, the levy is up $800,000, abatements are projected to be about $900,000 lower than estimated. Also the collection rate is estimated to be at about 99.2 percent. State aid is also about $1 million better than estimated, and is state aid to schools is also up $700,000, though Schaefer noted that won’t directly help the city. The city is also ahead $800,000 on interest on past due taxes.

A tough recruiting environment has saved the city about $3 million on personnel this year, and the Fire Department may show a small surplus, “Which is unprecedented,” Schaefer said, mostly due to the recent SAFER grant.

Energy costs are down $300,000 due to the city’s use of solar energy and a slight decline in prices. The FY2024 budget approved in May was based on using a fund balance of $7 million, a structural deficit, Schaefer said.

“Based on these things that have happened, that structural deficit is down to $2.7 million,” Shaefer said. So, he estimates, the city will only need to use a little under $3 million of the fund balance, not the $7 million originally budgeted.

In other news, the City Council also approved purchase of a Mobile Command Center for the Warwick Police Department from Emergency Vehicles, Inc. 705 13th Street Lake Park, FL, for $595,021. The bid was approved unanimously as part of the consent calendar.

The Council also approved purchase of electronic equipment for the Harbor Master’s boats, from Edgewood Outfitters, LLC, of 1 Masthead Dr. Unit B Warwick, RI , for $32,588.89.

Though the issue was the subject of debate at the last meeting, Councilman Ed Ladouceur passed up an opportunity to comment while Mayor Frank Picozzi’s Chief of Staff, Aaron Mackisey, spoke briefly during the Finance Committee to reiterate Picozzi’s support for the purchase and his confidence that that Harbor Master’s ask for the equipment was what he needed.

The motion passed unanimously.

 

 

 

Rob Borkowski
Author: Rob Borkowski

Rob has worked as reporter and editor for several publications, including The Kent County Daily Times and Coventry Courier, before working for Gatehouse in MA then moving home with Patch Media. Now he's publisher and editor of WarwickPost.com. Contact him at [email protected] with tips, press releases, advertising inquiries, and concerns.

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