The mayor of Providence, Jorge Elorza, is set to deliver his annual State of the City address Tuesday evening. Elorza will be touting some good news on the city’s fiscal outlook.
In the short term at least, Mayor Elorza pointed to positive indicators for Providence’s budget. He spoke during a recent interview at Rhode Island Public Radio.
“We’ve balanced our budget, we’ve finished with the largest surplus in the city’s recorded history," said Elorza. "We have completely paid off the deficit, we have a rainy day fund, and our credit rating has been upgraded two notches.”
Elorza also plans to push a new effort to promote summer learning for students. But he acknowledged that Providence faces long-term financial challenges. Those are due to costly obligations for pensions and retiree healthcare.
However, members of the Providence Teachers Union said they plan to picket the address.
In a statement, the union said Elorza’s administration has not negotiated in good faith for a new contract.
Elorza said the issue is money. He said the city is looking at about $20 million in unfunded school expenses for upcoming years.
“We need to figure out a way to address these long-term financial challenges. And once we’re in a better position, well, then we can talk about raises not just for teachers, but for all of our public employees," said Elorza, "but until then we just can’t give away more than we can afford.” Mayor Elorza will deliver his latest State of the City address at six p.m. on Tuesday evening at City Hall.