Cicilline defends spending under his watch in Providence

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Former Providence Mayor David Cicilline is defending the near depletion of the city's reserve fund, saying he had to make tough choices.

A new audit finds during the last fiscal year, the reserve fund went from $17.3 million to $3.4 million.

Last October the city auditor warned about a draining fund. At the time Cicilline's office claimed the warning was political. Cicilline now says he tapped into the rainy day fund because it was raining.

"We had to make some difficult choices, people can disagree with those to accomplish a balanced budget, I believe those were the right choices in terms of protecting services and balancing all the equities," says Cicilline.

Bond agencies recommend cities keep at least 5% of their budgets in reserves. For Providence that would be $30 million, the amount Cicilline's office told WRNI was in the account when the auditor raised his concerns.

Meanwhile, the Providence City Council has taken a step towards approving a budget for the current fiscal year. According to The Providence Journal, the council voted 14 to none last night in a preliminary vote on the $639 million spending plan. The city has been operating without a budget for the past eight months.

Read the Audit
Read the audit here.

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