By Hilary Russ
Jan 29 (Reuters) - Providence, Rhode Island, Mayor Angel
Taveras said on Tuesday that the city is recovering after facing
insolvency last year, but it still has a $4 million structural
Taveras inherited a $110 million structural deficit when he
took office in January 2011.
Since then, he has reached deals with unions to cut pension
and retiree healthcare costs, and struck agreements with
nonprofits - including Ivy League school Brown University - to
increase voluntary payments to the city in lieu of property
taxes, which they don't have to pay.
In his State of the City remarks on Tuesday, Taveras said
those measures had shrunk the city's long-term structural
deficit to just $4 million from $22 million a year ago.
The city also expects to close out fiscal 2013, which ends
June 30, with a balanced budget, Taveras spokesman David Ortiz
Last year, Providence had an operating deficit of $15
"The state of our City is getting stronger. Providence is
recovering," Taveras said in prepared remarks.
Taveras is expected to present his budget proposal for
fiscal 2014 in April.
Some analysts said last year that they thought bankruptcy
was inevitable for the city of just over 1 million people.
So far, the tiny city of Central Falls, just north of
Providence, is the only city in the state to have filed for
bankruptcy. Central Falls' exited bankruptcy after its debt
reduction plan was confirmed in September.
Taveras, a Democrat, is seen as a possible challenger to
Governor Lincoln Chafee in 2014 elections.
Another Democrat, State Treasurer Gina Raimondo, may also
vie for the governorship. She spearheaded state-level public
pension reform that has been heralded nationwide.
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