Fall River City Council President spoke with WSAR News on a plethora of topics, including talks of the elimination of the CSO fee in the city.
Mayor Jasiel Correia II has made it known this summer he would like to eliminate the quarterly storm water fee, indicating cannabis sales and various forms of digital advertising would be enough to replace the $5.9 million in the current fiscal year 2020 municipal budget.
If a fee is jettisoned, Ponte told WSAR there needs to be revenue to replace what the fee would have earned.
"Everybody wants to see fees eliminated and reduced for our taxpayers" he said. "We would like to see if we can increase revenues without cost to the taxpayers. That's something every politician - every local mayor, city councilor, state rep or any public official tries to do for their constituents and taxpayers."
Fall River's current council president referenced this topic as a political subject that pops up around election time.
"Eliminating the storm water fee has been a political thing to talk about during campaigns but we need to be sure if we do eliminate a tax or a fee, we do it in a way that doesn't jeopardize the taxpayer another way," Ponte said. "You don't want to eliminate the storm water fee and find your water rates increasing in the same breath, too."
Ponte referenced the ten dollar per household fee elimination as an example of there being a plan to replace that money.
"We have to be cognizant and aware," he said. "If we want to eliminate fees like the city council did in my first term when we got rid of the ten dollar trash fee. That was something I advocate for and was successfully able to accomplish as a city councilor and chair of the ordinance committee at that time. We did it in a way that made financial sense to do so."
The city council president told WSAR various city owned outdoor digital billboards are also a work in progress and could help increase revenue.