Riley: Providence in Big Trouble - Pension Plan Assets Lowest Since 2007

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

 

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Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza - Chair of the Providence Investment Commission

Providence is still in big trouble both as a city and in its Pension Plan. I have created a bullet point type report to highlight concern and give municipal bond investors and taxpayers a more accurate picture of Providence finances.

Providence Pension Assets

•    Providence pension Plan Assets ended fiscal year 2016 at $246 million in cash and investments.
•    Segal report and valuation of pension assets was not completed or reported in 2016 marking the first time in nearly 90 years this valuation was not reported. Coincidentally the $246 million marks the lowest level of assets at fiscal year-end since 2007.
•    Renaissance Institution LLC (series B) Hedge fund saved the day with a 20 +% return in FY 2016. Without this hedge fund the City would have lost nearly 2%.
•    Providence FY 2016 return was 1.2% trailing the S&P 500 return of 1.7%
•    Providence Investment Commission Chair Jorge Elorza expects 8.25% compounded over the next 25 years.

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CASH Flow of Contributions

•    Investment Adviser has gone to the highly unusual step of showing Cash Flows going back to 2005. Wainwright/State Street show that the city of Providence collects Contributions from employees every paycheck  but does not deposit into pension plan and also withholds the cities own contributions. The delay is on average 450 days after the first day of the fiscal year. Most if not all American Municipalities distribute contributions and ARC payments throughout the year so that the pension plan can invest. Not Providence. Auditor Hoyle has observed and approved this practice.

•    FY 2016 has seen contributions before year end for the first time in 15 years and this year it totaled nearly $21 million. Mayor Elorza set a goal of paying before Fiscal year end. The city still owes $51 million to the pension plan that it “borrowed” illegally.

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Michael G. Riley is vice chair at Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity, and is managing member and founder of Coastal Management Group, LLC. Riley has 35 years of experience in the financial industry, having managed divisions of PaineWebber, LETCO, and TD Securities (TD Bank). He has been quoted in Barron’s, Wall Street Transcript, NY Post, and various other print media and also appeared on NBC News, Yahoo TV, and CNBC.
 

 

Related Slideshow: Providence’s Most Endangered Properties - 2016

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Atlantic Mills 

100 Manton Avenue. 

Atlantic Mills is one of Providence's most highly visible  and recognizable mills. The mill structure is being utilized, the towers are falling into a state of disrepair. 

Today, the former mill complex is used as a commercial space and includes a furniture store and carpet warehouse. 

 

Photo courtesy of Providence Preservation Society 

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Bomes Theatre 

1017 Broad Street 

The Bomes Theatre is a two-story, Beaux Arts-style, felt-roof, brick building that includes stone trim. 

A sign reading "Bomes Theater" is centered at the roof line. Plywood now obscures the original fenestration. 

After its use as a theatre, the Bomes building was occupied by Jason's furniture. This theatre could be used as a theatre once again. 

 

Photo courtesy of Providence Preservation Society 

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Cranston Street Armory 

310 Cranston Street 

The Cranston Street Armory was constructed in 1907 in order to house the Rhode Island National Guard. 

The building was vacated by the National Guard in 1996 due to the rising costs of upkeep and the need for upgrades. 

In 2015, the State's Department of Administration began a "Structural Repairs Project - Phase I" which focuses on the tower on Parade Street.

Photo courtesy of Providence Preservation Society 

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Barstow Stove Company (Tops Electric) 

120 Point Street 

The building dates back to 1849 and includes a monitor roof, granite window lintels, and a corbel led brick cornice. 

Top Electric Company has operated out of the sight since 1974, however, it was sold in 2015 to the current owners who are evaluating potential uses and redevelopment. 

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Ward Baking Company Administration Building 

145 Globe Street 

The Ward Baking Company Administration Building is a two story, brick, flat roof building  constructed between 1908 and 1956. 

In 2011, the Ward Baking Company Administration Building was set for demolition with the rest of the complex, however, the Historic District Commission asked owners to find a solution to save the building. 

Lifespan purchased the property in 2015. 

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Gilbert Stuart Middle School 

188 Princeton Avenue

The Gilbert Stuart School is a public school in the West End of Providence. 

The Gilbert Stuart Schools are in dire need of major upgrades and repairs in order to continue servicing students and their families. 

The building is face with water damage, poor air quality, inefficient heating, and an outdated plumbing system that produces water unsafe to drink. 

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Roger Williams Middle School

278 Thurbers Avenue

The Roger Williams Middle School is a 4-story brick and limestone public school built in 1932 in Lower South Providence. 

The school just put in a new digital media laboratory, however it suffers from problems resulting from a long-leaky roof and a lack of modern fire suppression systems. 

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Nathanael Greene Middle School 

721 Chalkstone Avenue

The Nathanael Green Middle School is a 3 story public school that was built in 1929 in Providence's Elmhurst neighborhood. 

Providence Preservation Society has yet to identify issues with the building.

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Broad Street Synagogue 

688 Broad Street

The Broad Street Synagogue was listed on the national register in 1988 after being constructed in 1910-11. 

In 2015, the building was sold and the new owner is planning major renovations that are expect to start in the spring. 

Photo courtesy of Providence Preservation Society

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Congregation of the Sons of Jacob

24 Douglas Avenue

The Congregation of the Sons of Jacob was listed on the national register of historic places in 1989. The two story building was built in two stages in 1906 and 1922 and has been largely unaltered. 

The building needs interior plaster repair as well as window repair. 

 

Photo courtesy of James Waters

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United Presbyterian Church

619 Chalkstone Avenue

The Church was active in the Smith Hill community in the 1970s and has served numerous congregations over the last three decades. 

The current owner is seeking redevelopment ideas to bring the building back to a useful purpose for the neighborhood. 

Photo courtesy of Providence Preservation Society

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Industrial Trust Building 

111 Westminster Street

The Industrial Trust Building is one of the most iconic and recognizable buildings in the region rising over 420 feet. 

The Trust Company became Fleet Bank before merging  with Bank of America in the early 2000s. High Rock Development purchases the building in 2008, and Bank of America remained as the sole tenant until their lease expired in early 2013.

The Providence Preservation society said that this building may be the most critical development challenge. 

Photo courtesy of Providence Preservation Society

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Kendrick-Prentice-Tirocchi House

514 Broadway

The property is currently owned by ONE Neighborhood Buildings, a community development corporation. 

The house is for sale, however, ongoing work is required to retain the state historic tax credit allocation. 

 

Photo courtesy of Providence Preservation Society

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Meader Street School 

20 Almy Street

The Meader Street School is a 2 story primary school located in the Federal Hill neighborhood. 

The school is one of the last remaining wooden 4 room schools in Providence. 

The west Broadway Neighborhood Association has attempted to purchase it for several years. 

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Rhode Island Hospital Southwest Pavilion 

593 Eddy Street

The building is a part of the original campus of Rhode Island Hospital, built in 1900. 

In 2006 and in 2015, RIH submitted an application for Institutional Master Plan Amendment to allow demolition of the building. It has been denied in both cases.

 

Photo courtesy of Providence Preservation Society

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Sheffield Smith House 

334 Smith Street

The Sheffield Smith House was constructed by quarryman in 1855. 

The house was foreclosed in 2007 and sat boarded and vacant for years. 

Providence Preservation Society is hoping the listing will attract attention and spur appropriate redevelopment for this property. 

Photo courtesy of Providence Preservation Society

 
 

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