Personnel costs for police and firefighters are only part of the problem, but the mayor is counting on a lot of help from those two unions to balance his budget.
Can he get that much from the firefighters?
Residents understand the city’s in tough straits.
“There are things that need to be done, and they need to be strong, viable moves,” said Robert Lee of Providence.
The mayor is looking for millions from nonprofits, millions from the state, millions from unions, and he said he needs it all to balance his budget just to be able to pay the bills this summer.
“We have potential cash flow problems if we don’t,” Taveras said.
Long term, he said the city can’t maintain its current pension benefits.
“To be honest means that everything is on the table and that includes existing retirees and that includes promises that have been made,” Taveras said. “I’m telling you right here, right now that everything is on the table.”
It’s something unions say they’ll never consider, setting the stage for even tougher negotiations if the city can prevent running out of cash in the next 60 days.