Central Falls, Rhode Island

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Transparency grading process

Central Falls is a municipality in Rhode Island. Central Falls is a city of about 18,000 about 6 miles north of Providence, Rhode Island.

Website Evaluation

The Good

  • Telephone numbers and addresses are available for elected officials.[1]
    • Emails are not available.
  • City council minutes and agendas are posted.[2]
  • Budget information posted.[3]
    • Budget archives dating to 2005 are posted.
  • Annual audits are posted.[4]
    • Audit archives dating to 2002 are posted.
  • Local tax information is posted.[5]
  • A city directory[6] only includes telephone numbers of departments.
    • Email information and individual contacts can be found under each department name.[7]
  • Recent bid results are posted.[8]
    • Open bids are not currently posted.

The Bad

  • Email addresses not available for elected officials.[9]
  • Zoning ordinances and building permits are not posted.
  • Information on taxpayer funded lobbying is not posted.
  • Information on open meetings and laws surrounding access to public records is posted, but how to file a public records request is not posted.[10]

Bankruptcy

Main article: Rhode Island public pensions

Central Falls’s economy began to decline in the 1970s with the departure of manufacturers including textile makers.[11]

In 2011, Bloomberg called Central Falls Rhode Island's poorest city.[11] In Aug. 2011, Central Falls faced a structural budget deficit of approximately $5.6 million on an annual general-fund budget of $16.4 million[11] and an unfunded liability of about $80 million for retirement benefits and pensions.[12]

The City Council in May 2010 sought a state-appointed receiver and the receiver former state Supreme Court justice Robert Flanders, cut costs yet needed contract concessions on pensions and other benefits.[11]

A June 17, 2011, report by Moody’s Investors Service said that the city’s pension plan is expected to run out of assets by October without additional funding or significant concessions from both current workers and retirees. The report said the city had $21 million of debt outstanding. [11]

After retirees failed to accept cuts in pensions and benefits, the city filed for bankruptcy on Aug. 1, 2011.[11] Flanders asked the federal court to immediately reject collective bargaining agreements. He said pension payments would reflect at least the cuts he outlined to city retirees and city workers face layoffs.[13]

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Frank Bailey of Massachusetts has been named the judge in the case.[13]

End of Bankruptcy

A federal judge paved the way for Central Falls, R.I., to emerge from bankruptcy by signing off on a debt-adjustment plan. The plan, which is expected to become effective in mid-October, will ensure that the city repays its bondholders, largely by raising taxes and making deep cuts in pensions and other employee benefits.[14]

The plan imposes a 4 percent property tax increase in each of the next five years while the number of city employees has fallen. There were 174 city workers in May 2010, and there are now 118.[15]

See also

Bankruptcy option for local governments

References

Bold text

External links

City of Central Falls Find information for this town and the local public school at the Transparency Train Portal to Government Transparency - an online database of information provided by the Ocean State Policy Research Institute.