Copy of the FY21 Budget Message and FTM Information Mailer

    Edward T. Warzycha

    1seal 1Interim Town Manager

    TOWN OF COVENTRY

    1670 Flat River Road, Coventry, RI  02816

    Tel. (401) 822-9185   Fax (401) 822-9139

                                                    July 7, 2020

    TO:                 The Honorable Town Councilpersons and Town Residents

    FROM:           Edward T. Warzycha, Interim Town Manager

    SUBJECT:    2020/2021 FISCAL YEAR BUDGET

                 

    I want to begin this Budget Message with good news,  on June 5, 2020, Moody’s Investors Service affirmed the A1 rating of the Town of Coventry’s outstanding general obligation unlimited tax (GOULT) bonds.  They have also removed the negative outlook on the bonds.  This has been the most challenging and difficult budget season that I have been involved in during my 16 years with the Town of Coventry.  The worldwide pandemic caused by COVID-19 has had an extreme effect on the economy and all budgets from the Federal Level down to the municipal level. The Town of Coventry’s budget is no exception.  With a local unemployment rate currently at nearly 15 percent of the workforce, unknown state and federal reimbursements to both the school and municipal budgets, combined with ever increasing operating costs has made for a difficult and nearly impossible budget process.

    The Town of Coventry has just completed a statistical revaluation that has increased the Actual Net Assessment of Residential Real Estate from $2,197,124.450 to approximately $2,619,079,722.  The Actual Net Assessment of the Commercial Real Estate has increased from $429,804,978 to approximately $505,136,720.  The increase in the total assessment will allow for the reduction in the Property Tax rate.  During a revaluation year, the starting levy of the upcoming fiscal year must equal the levy of the previous fiscal year.  The revaluation process cannot be used to increase the starting levy of the upcoming fiscal year.  The current Coventry tax rates are as follows:  Residential $22.24, Commercial $26.81, Tangible $22.24, and Motor Vehicle $18.75.  The equalized rate with the new valuations will be approximately:  Residential $18.97, Commercial $22.87, Tangible $18.97 and Motor Vehicle $18.75.  The rates listed may fluctuate slightly when the tax role is final locked and certified.

    The financial conditions facing our town in the upcoming fiscal year, high unemployment, unknown state, and federal funding, will COVID-19 cause another shutdown of the government, Coventry property tax collection rates, unfunded increased cost for school re-opening, to name a few, are forcing the Town of Coventry to make difficult decisions in the budget process.  I strongly believe that the increased costs’ facing the Town of Coventry cannot be put onto the backs of the taxpaying residents this year. 

    The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March has forced an extreme change in the direction of the budget.  Originally, the town was contemplating a $1.9 million dollar increase to the school budget and a $1.1 million dollar increase to the municipal budget.  The municipal budget was to be funded with additional non property tax revenue increases causing a 0% tax increase.  The School Department increase would have caused approximately a 2.7% tax increase.  A fairly robust economy with the potential to continue into the future, low unemployment, and rising property values, all combined to make this a reasonable budget.

    Three months later and we now face an uncertain future with high unemployment rates, unknown state, and federal funding, unknown collection rates and the potential of unfunded increased costs to both the Municipal and School Department budgets. 

    Because of all the reasons I’ve listed above, I am recommending that the Coventry Town Council move forward and recommend for approval at the all-day referendum, my proposed budget with a 0.0% increase in funding for both the Municipal and School Departments. My decision for this did not come lightly, I’ve spent months working with Finance Director John Arnett, discussing, analyzing, and evaluating all of the current conditions and budget information. 

     

    FY 2020

    FY 2021

     
     

    APPROVED

    PROPOSED

    CHANGE

           

    OPERATIONS - TOWN

    $29,310,627

    $29,346,549

    $35,922

    BONDED DEBT SERVICE - TOWN

    $2,647,254

    $2,699,769

    $52,515

    CAPITAL – TOWN

    $0

    $200,000

    $200,000

       Subtotal

    $31,957,881

    $32,246,318

    $288,437

           
           
           

    OPERATIONS – SCHOOL

    $73,406,698

    $72,485,592

    ($921,106)

    BONDED DEBT SERVICE – SCHOOL

    $2,585,507

    $2,490,300

    ($95,207)

    CAPTIAL –  SCHOOL

    $200,000

    $0

    ($200,000)

    Subtotal

    $76,192,205

    $74,975,892

    ($1,216,313)

           

    GRAND TOTAL

    $108,150,086

    $107,222,210

    ($927,876)

     I look forward to discussing my recommended budget with the Town Council and the town residents.

    Thank You.

    Ed Warzycha

    Interim Town Manager

     

    IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT THE COVENTRY FINANCIAL TOWN MEETING AND ALL DAY REFERENDUM

    BE SURE TO VOTE FOR THE TOWN COUNCIL RECOMMENDED (4-1)

    0.0% LEVY & TAX INCREASE BUDGET

     

    The Town budget will be considered at the annual Financial Town Meeting convened virtually and telephonically, pursuant to Governor’s Executive Order 20-05 (including orders continuing and amending said requirements) [Zoom meeting information contained below], on Tuesday, July 14, 2020, at 7:00 pm followed by an all-day referendum on Thursday July 16, 2020, from 7:00 am until 8:00 pm with voting at the following locations:

    FROM 7:00 am TO 8:00 pm.

     

    VOTING LOCATIONS:

    DISTRICT 1      SAINT FRANCIS CHURCH     132 PECKHAM LANE

    DISTRICT 2     TOWN COUNCIL CHAMBERS      1670 FLAT RIVER ROAD 

    DISTRICT 3     CLUB JOGUES      184 BOSTON STREET

    DISTRICT 4      COVENTRY SENIOR CENTER      50 WOOD STREET

    DISTRICT 5      COVENTRY HIGH SCHOOL      40 RESERVOIR ROAD

     

    Please click the link below to join the webinar:

    https://zoom.us/j/99090722277?pwd=TUcxczF3ZHJVZWRFS2lER0pKUHJ0dz09

    Password: 718912

    Or iPhone one-tap :

        US: +13017158592,,99090722277#,,,,0#,,718912#  or +13126266799,,99090722277#,,,,0#,,718912#

    Or Telephone:

        Dial(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):

            US: +1 301 715 8592  or +1 312 626 6799  or +1 646 558 8656  or +1 253 215 8782  or +1 346 248 7799  or +1 669 900 9128  or 888 788 0099 (Toll Free) or 833 548 0276 (Toll Free) or 833 548 0282 (Toll Free) or 877 853 5247 (Toll Free)

        Webinar ID: 990 9072 2277

        Password: 718912

        International numbers available: https://zoom.us/u/ayWKwB4nx

     

    VOTERS WILL NO LONGER BE ABLE TO PROPOSE AMENDMENTS TO THE COUNCIL APPROVED BUDGET.

    NO TAX PAYER VOTING OF ANY TYPE WILL BE CONDUCTED AT THE FTM.  VOTING FOR OR AGAINST THE COUNCIL APPROVED BUDGET WILL BE CONDUCTED ON THURSDAY, JULY 16, 2020.

    A VOTER NEED NOT ATTEND THE FTM TO BE ELIGIBLE TO VOTE IN THE ALL DAY REFERENDUM. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

     

       

    2019-2020

    2020-2021

       

    CURRENT BUDGET

    PROPOSED BUDGET

       

    OPERATING

    CAPITAL

    OPERATING

    CAPITAL

    FUNCTION/PURPOSE OF EXPENDITURES

             
               

    EDUCATION

     

    $73,406,698.00

    $200,000.00

    $72,485,592.00

     

    GENERAL FINANCIAL ADMINISTRATION

     

    1,021,431

     

    820,574

     

    PUBLIC WORKS

     

    5,600,911

     

    5,349,315

     

    POLICE PROTECTION

     

    13,373,779

     

    13,770,874

     

    PARKS & RECREATION

     

    1,231,286

     

    846,232

     

    HUMAN SERVICES

     

    785,856

     

    777,960

     

    GENERAL GOVERNMENT

     

    5,927,161

     

    6,412,662

    200,000

    PUBLIC LIBRARY

     

    994,193

     

    993,138

     

    PLANNING & DEVELOPMENT

     

    376,010

     

    375,794

     

    DEBT RETIREMENT

     

    5,232,761

     

    5,190,069

     

    SUPPLIMENTAL PENSION LIABILITY

     

    -

     

    -

     

    TOTAL EXPENDITURES

     

    $107,950,086

    $200,000

    $107,022,210

    $200,000

     

    REVENUES

             

     

     

     

     

     

     

    LOCAL PROPERTY

     

    $75,293,157

    $200,000

    $75,771,295

    $200,000

    STATE RESTRICTED

     

    27,224,253

     

    25,407,003

     

    LOCAL NON-PROPERTY

     

    5,432,676

     

    5,843,912

     

    CELL TOWER RESERVE FUND

     

    -

     

    -

     

    SCHOOL FUND BALANCE ALLOCATED

     

    -

     

    -

     

    TOWN FUND BALANCE ALLOCATED

     

    -

     

    -

     

    TOTAL REVENUES

     

    $107,950,086

    $200,000

    $107,022,210

    $200,000