"The State of our City is Improving"; Bankruptcy averted, Providence is responsibly managing finances, stepping up its investments.
Delivering his 2014 State of the City address this evening at Providence City Hall, Mayor Angel Taveras spoke of a city that has weathered hard times and is improving with hard work and new investments in city services, public education, public safety and quality of life.
"We've been through the hard times of the Great Recession. But we never lost hope. And we never stopped believing that better days were ahead," Mayor Taveras said. "We are working hard and making investments that will propel Providence into a future of greater economic strength and prosperity."
During the 30-minute speech, which was delivered to the Providence City Council and other elected officials, dignitaries and stakeholders from across Providence and the state of Rhode Island, Mayor Taveras discussed his administration's successful effort to address a 'Category 5 fiscal hurricane' that he faced when taking office in January, 2011.
"It's difficult to believe that just three years ago Providence stood at the abyss, as we worked to address a $110 million structural deficit and keep our Capital City out of bankruptcy," Mayor Taveras said. "But we pulled together - all of us here, and many others throughout our state - to save Providence. We rolled up our sleeves and we got to work. From our labor unions to our tax-exempt institutions and our taxpayers - everyone pulled together. We turned a $110 million structural deficit into a $1.6 million budget surplus."
Mayor Taveras also provided an update on his economic development action plan, Putting Providence Back to Work.
Action steps taken since the plan was introduced in March 2013 include:
Mayor Taveras announced the launch of a new website that will allow the public to track the city's progress toward completing the goals of the economic development action plan. The website is available at providenceri.com/ putting-providence-back-to-work.
Mayor Taveras also detailed the outcomes of investments his administration has made in public education, public safety and quality of life for Providence residents.
In the coming months, Mayor Taveras plans to continue taking actions to spur economic development and improve the quality of life for Providence residents, including:
"Not all moments in history are created equal," said Mayor Taveras. "Some moments are momentous - shaping the course of future events for years to come. These past three years have been a momentous time for our city. Providence was at a crossroads. We chose the path toward a brighter future. It was up to us, and we did what we needed to do to move our city forward. And today I can say that because of us, Providence is better off than we were not long ago. We are restoring hope in our beloved city."