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Ponte: Unless we act, tax increase beginning next year will be over 5% per year for at least 7 years



Fall River City Council President Cliff Ponte issued a letter to the City’s finance teams and the School Department Thursday concerning what Ponte feels is a tax rate for residents and businesses that is not sustainable. The two sides are scheduled to meet on April 13th to review the fiscal and financial condition of the City in preparation for the upcoming budget.

“As we approach the joint meeting with the School Committee and the respective finance teams — As one Councilor, I would like to bring to your attention the following:

Currently the city pays for all capital projects. These projects are not included in minimum net school spending. The state education aid formula has given the Fall River Schools on average 8 million dollars in increased aid each and every year.

“While state aid to the city has not increased at the same level, the taxpayers in the City of Fall River simply cannot afford the continued and upcoming increases.

“Therefore, we need to have the school department join us as partners in funding all projects moving forward. I have made this point very clear to the Administration of the city and the School Department over the past year.

“The funding schedule for the new Durfee High School as presented to the voters called for 3.6 million dollars in a debt exclusion ( our tax bills) starting in July of 2022 ( Fiscal Year 2023) through Fiscal Year 2029. Our current tax levy ( 2.5% increase in overall taxes) yields a 2.8 million dollar increase. This means that unless we act to mitigate this issue, the taxpayer increase next year will be over 5% per year for at least 7 years. This is not sustainable for our citizens, taxpayers and business community.

Some Budget Priorities going into joint meeting and budget discussions:

1. Utilize all revenue sources to eliminate the need for a debt exclusion – Looking at both the 70+ million from Federal Government and School 40+ million ESSER Funds.

2. Work with the Mayor and the School Committee in partnership to fund any future capital projects responsibly keeping in mind the revenue limitations on the city side of government.

I look forward to having a healthy debate about this at our joint meeting.”

Cliff Ponte
City Council President

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  1. Mortis Maximus

    April 2, 2021 at 1:33 pm

    Fall River is a long term and complete $hithole. Nothing will change unless Fall River’s system of government is allowed to fail. It’s not just the schools causing financial destruction upon the citizenry. Fall River spends over 40 million dollars a year for employee healthcare alone. Doom and Gloom is the reality for Fall River and I have said such for years. Bankruptcy is the only viable option to save Fall River. Sustainability of the current economic status of Fall River will never be a reality, because Fall River is overflowing with non-contributors. I forsee the current “Democratic” type of government we are being sold as the major factor in Fall River’s failure. We the people were given a Republic form of government with limited powers over the people, we have strayed too far from this ideal. Cliff please realize that the current state of Fall River finance will require a complete restart,to begin with the dissolution of “Fall River” the corporation. Funny that Amazon Corp. was given a $30 million dollar property tax freebee as the regular property owners are faced with this crisis. Great work Kenny Fiola and the former FROED board,your vision for Fall River’s future was a spot on failure.

  2. Mikey Morty

    April 2, 2021 at 1:37 pm

    Fire Mary Sahady today Mr. Coogan, she is complicit in this fiscal failure…

  3. david

    April 2, 2021 at 11:37 pm

    the new Durfee High School is a disgusting boondoogle. Not needed. the old building could of received a major renovation. The current Durfee was built in 1978, but has to be replaced in 2020 in a City where the majority of commercial and residential buildings still in use were built in 1900?
    The heck with the rotten schools; a big joke; a teacher’s union jobs program. Give every kid an ipad and send them home. in 2021 you gotta sit in a classroom and listen to some fat, burned out slob ‘teach’ social studies when you can learn how to construct a nuke weapon on Youtube? gimme a break with these pathetic schools.

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