Mayor races to head off bond downgrade

Providence is closing in on the start of a new fiscal year without a budget in place.

Moody’s bond rating service is calling for a review that could lower the city’s bond rating, which would make it more expensive for the city to borrow money.

Mayor Angel Taveras said Monday he’s doing everything he can to head off the downgrade. He said he knows why it could drop.

“They’re particularly concerned about making sure we’re able to balance our budget and that we’re in a better position come the beginning of the fiscal year,” Taveras said. “It’s really confirmation of what we’ve said, and that is, we need to make sure that we get the savings that we have projected in our budget .”

The mayor has asked for money back from police and firefighters contracts, and negotiations continue with each. He’s already said he’ll lay off police if he can’t get concessions.

“We have to take some drastic measures,” he said. “What I’ve said is everything’s on the table. Everything is on the table. I really want to come to consensual resolutions of these issues.”

Four elements of the mayor’s proposed budget have to happen:

  • $6 million in savings from the police department
  • $6 million in savings from the fire department
  • $7.1 million from tax-exempt universities and hospitals
  • $18 million from state aid and new laws passed by the General Assembly

Taveras said he’s talking with all of those entities to have the budget in place by July 1.

“It’s a challenge,” he said. 

Article source: http://www2.turnto10.com/news/2011/jun/06/mayor-races-head-bond-downgrade-ar-523949/

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