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Thursday, June 1, 2017

Council to Consider $45M Bond Issuance

Highly Detailed Public Infrastructure Plan Reaches Every City Neighborhood

Finance Committee Chairman John Igliozzi (Ward 7) tonight introduced a resolution that seeks to authorize the issuance of a $45M bond from the Providence Public Buildings Authority (PPBA) to fund a comprehensive 5-year strategic infrastructure plan for the City of Providence. The resolution was referred to the Finance Committee for further vetting.

The proposed Capital Improvement Plan—a highly detailed public infrastructure program that reaches every City neighborhood— is the result of a strong, collaborative effort by City Council leadership to deliver a transparent, equitable, and thoroughly vetted spending plan to taxpayers prior to bond issuance.

An earlier proposal introduced by the administration last summer failed to earn Council support due to the lack of a clear spending plan, a rushed timeline, and the city’s financial outlook. The initial proposal, which was less than a half page in length, sought to allocate tens of millions of dollars into a few “spending buckets.” The proposal was introduced to the Council after the budget for the current fiscal year had been adopted, and just weeks ahead of the state deadline to put a bond referendum on the November ballot. At the time, the city also had a negative rainy day fund balance and low bond rating.

In recent months, the city’s financial outlook has improved; the city’s bond rating has been upgraded and a large portion of the city’s debt will be repaid in the upcoming fiscal year. The Council is also expected to pass a balanced budget and add $3.5M to the city’s rainy day fund. In light of this progress, the Council will soon deliberate the proposed Capital Improvement Plan. The proposal will be available to the public and deliberated in open Finance Committee meetings.

“This proposal has come together through collaboration between the City Council and administration,” said Acting Council President Sabina Matos (Ward 15). “Councilors feel more comfortable now that adequate time has been taken to develop a plan that includes greater input from all stakeholders.”

“The vetting process of the Capital Improvement Plan will ensure that a clear spending plan is presented to the public, and that the needs of every neighborhood are addressed. No corner of the city will be overlooked as we seek to secure resources for these critical infrastructure improvements,” said Finance Committee Chairman John Igliozzi.

“The Council has worked to secure an infrastructure proposal from the administration that specifies spending plans and reaches every neighborhood,” said Majority Whip Jo-Ann Ryan (Ward 5). “I look forward to vetting this comprehensive proposal with my colleagues.”