The Newport City Council unanimously approved the FY2012-2013 budget during Wednesday's meeting, which included at 2.5 percent property tax increase, level funding the school committee and a 2.47 percent general expenditure increase.
Alliance for a Livable Newport Treasurer Ron Becker addressed the council and commended their work on the budget proposal.
Becker said his biggest complaint of past years' budgets has been the mismatching of revenues and expenses.
He told the council that this year's proposal had done a good job of matching the two.
The proposed combined expenditures for all funds is $115,754,174, a $20.6 million decrease from last year due to decreases in capital spending for the new Pell Elementary School.
The total general fund budget has increased 2.47 percent, from $81,407,687 to $83,415,150.
One of the major changes to the budget included an amendment to designate beach funds into the general fund. By doing so, the money would no longer be considered enterprise funds.
The new designation as a special revenue fund was for accounting semantics, Waluk said, and funds will still be used for beach operations.
The proposed tax rate, as equalized, will be $11.10 per $1,000 of assessed value for residential properties and $15.38 per $1,000 for commercial properties.
The proposed motor vehicle tax rate remains at $23.45 per $1,000 of assessed value. Vehicles valued at less that $6,000 will be exempt.
The city also decided to level fund the Newport School Committee after . Before granting additional funding, the council requested an analysis be done with regards to
Cuts to Title I and Title II funding led to a shortfall off approximately $400,000, which the school committee requested the City Council to allocate to them in the budget proposal. An unsettled contract with the Teacher's Association of Newport has also caused financial uncertainty within the school committee's budget proposal.
School Committee Chair Patrick Kelley spoke to the council, saying that if the school committee was level funded certain positions and programs may need to be cut. He added the the additional funding was necessary to continue funding the “high quality education” in Newport.
During a previous council meeting, councilor Henry Winthrop said he would be level funding the school committee after they .
The city did agree that the school committee may receive additional funding throughout the year if they requested it.
Waluk said the entire budget process had been a “smooth and open one.”
The budget can be viewed in its entirety here.