Study says long-term approach can fix Providence finances

Long-Term Approach Can Fix Providence Finances

Study Outlines 10-Year Plan to Move Beyond Financial Challenges and Invest in the Future

PROVIDENCE, RI – Mayor Jorge Elorza Monday joined community stakeholders to receive a 10-year baseline financial projection for Providence and a series of initiatives that the City can pursue to close projected deficits and invest in its future.

"This report provides a call to action to put Providence on a sustainable path forward. It's time for us to fix our financial challenges once and for all," said Mayor Elorza. "Today, we have a clear understanding of our challenges and a set of options for how we can address them. I look forward to addressing these challenges head on by working with all stakeholders to come up with and execute a plan for Providence's long-term future."

The report from the National Resource Network (NRN), “A Strategic Fiscal & Management Plan for the City of Providence: A Plan for Sustainability and Investment,” marks a continuation of the Mayor’s leadership to ensure the City’s long-term financial stability. After taking office the Administration sought and won a White House grant to work with the National Resource Network to develop a plan to implement long-term budgeting solutions in the city.

“When Mayor Jorge Elorza asked the National Resource Network to assist Providence, he argued that the city’s economic future required a plan to put its fiscal house in order and address several critical challenges head on. He was right,” said National Resource Network Executive Director David Eichenthal.

The report’s baseline financial projection shows that, without corrective action, the city will face a $37 million budget gap by 2026, and it will spend $176 million more than it can afford over the next 10 years. 

It identifies a series of options for reducing expenditures, increasing revenues, and evaluating certain assets and practices in order to best achieve the long-term structural corrections that are needed.

It also presents the need to move toward long-term budgeting practices that will not only allow the city to break the cycle of financial struggle, but also make critical investments in our schools, pension system, and economic infrastructure.

“The result will be a balanced budget and fiscal stability, new investments in children and public education, repairs to decaying infrastructure. Simply put, the result is a better, more sustainable future for Providence,” said Eichenthal.

Funding for the assessment was made possible through a federal grant as well as support from the Rhode Island Foundation, the Providence Foundation, and Brown University.

"The health and stability of Providence has an enormous impact on Rhode Island’s well-being,” said Neil Steinberg, President and CEO of the Rhode Island Foundation. “We were pleased to support an expert, objective, long-term fiscal analysis for Providence, and we look forward to an inclusive and collaborative community dialogue around the findings and recommendations.”

(release from City of Providence) 

The CW