City finances now issue in congressional race

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The state of the city of Providence's finances has become a focal point in the race for the first district congressional seat being vacated by Patrick Kennedy.

An auditor's report sparked the debate. The report shows a rapid depletion of the city's reserves.

Providence's reserve accounts are being depleted at an alarming rate to pay the bills, according to city auditor James Lombardi. In one year, he says, the accounts have gone from $36.6 million to less than $5 million.

Republican congressional candidate John Loughlin accuses his opponent, Providence Mayor David Cicilline of driving the city into near bankruptcy and concealing it.

"He's leaving behind a financial train wreck," Loughlin says. "And I think that's relevant to what he's going to bring to Washington."

The mayor's office insists there is $30 million left in reserve accounts and says the criticism is politically motivated. But eight council members are concerned enough to have hired an outside auditor to investigate the discrepancy.

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