We have much to be thankful for as this year draws to a close. Working together, we have accomplished what few believed possible.
When 2012 began, Providence was in peril. Despite our efforts to navigate our city safely through its Category 5 fiscal hurricane, Providence was on course to run out of cash and faced the possibility of bankruptcy.
We will look back on 2012 as the year that we put Providence on a sustainable path by coming together and setting aside politics for the greater good. Just weeks ago, the last city union signed on to a pension reform agreement that Moody’s Investors Service called, “a precedent other struggling Rhode Island cities and towns can follow.”
Days later, Providence College joined with Brown University and every other major tax-exempt institution in our city in agreeing to increase their contributions to Providence. As a result, Providence’s major tax-exempt institutions have committed more than $48 million in additional contributions to the city over the next 10 years. Through collaborative efforts and shared sacrifice, we have all but eliminated Providence’s $110 million structural deficit.
But pulling Providence back from the fiscal brink was certainly not our only accomplishment this year. Our efforts to ensure a first-rate education for every child in Providence was honored with a string of national awards and recognitions from the National Civic League, America’s Promise Alliance, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the White House Office of Faith-based Initiatives and Bloomberg Philanthropies.
We have seen an increase in tourism in our city, and Travel & Leisure recognized Providence as America’s No.1 city for food.
In November, Providence’s voters overwhelmingly approved a $40 million roads bond that will pave miles of our streets and create up to 750 jobs in the coming years.
I am inspired by our community’s commitment to each other and grateful for the support and encouragement we received as we accomplished this difficult and necessary work in 2012. I ask you to keep standing with us as we continue our efforts to move our city forward in the coming year. With your help, I have no doubt we will make 2013 a brighter and more successful year for Providence.
I wish you a peaceful and joyous New Year.
Mayor of Providence