House Commission to Address ‘Looming Crisis’ in Municipal Budgets

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


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In light of the fiscal crisis in Central Falls, House Speaker Gordon Fox has appointed a special commission to review and assess the financial health of municipalities throughout Rhode Island.

“We are now well aware of the problems facing Central Falls, but unfortunately these fiscal troubles are not unique to this one community,” said  Fox, who announced his plans for the commission in his inaugural address at the opening of the session.

The new commission is composed of seven representatives from across the state, with Rep. Jon D. Brien (D-Dist. 50, Woonsocket), the current chairman of the House Municipal Government Committee, acting as the chairman.

In the hopes of finding proactive solutions to ensure municipal financial stability, the commission plans to study, among other things, the financial impact of local bond ratings and the funding of municipal pension plans and protocols.

In addition to these areas of focus, Fox has made it clear that the commission will also be looking into the recommendations made by retired Superior Court judge Mark Pfeiffer, who served six months at the state-appointed receiver in Central Falls.

During his time in this position, Pfeiffer made a series of recommendations that assisted the troubled city and could potentially serve as a model for other communities in financial crises.

“I am hopeful the solutions that we craft to address the Central Falls situation will provide protocols for the state and other municipalities to proactively deal with similar financial issues,” Fox said.


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