[Summit] Fw: City Councillor Sam Zurier's May 7 newsletter ‹ road race, reform & City budget

Greg Gerritt gerritt at mindspring.com
Sun May 7 10:10:17 CDT 2017

Even 7.5% expected return on pension fund investments is way too high.  Los
Angeles is starting to think that 6.5% is more appropriate, and even that is
too high.  Greg gerritt

From:  David Kolsky <davidjkolsky at yahoo.com>
Reply-To:  David Kolsky <davidjkolsky at yahoo.com>
Date:  Sunday, May 7, 2017 at 9:27 AM
To:  Wayland Square <waylandsquare at yahoogroups.com>, Summit Neighborhood
<Summit at sna.providence.ri.us>
Subject:  [Summit] Fw: City Councillor Sam Zurier's May 7 newsletter ‹ road
race, reform & City budget

----- Forwarded Message -----
 From: Samuel D. Zurier <sam at samzurier.com>
 Sent: Sunday, May 7, 2017 4:17 AM
 Subject: May 7, 2017 Ward Letter

Painting by Jim Bush, www.jimbushart.com

 Ward 2 and City News for
May 7, 2017

Dear David, 

Last week's political earthquake in the Third Ward is now over, but tremors
and aftershocks remain.  This week's letter will discuss a local road race,
the recall, and the City's pension.

Download a pdf copy.

This Morning's Road Race

The annual Cox half marathon will take place on Blackstone Boulevard Sunday
morning (May 7) between 8:00 and 12:00 noon.  As usual, it will impact the
Grotto Avenue neighborhood.  Travel will be possible northbound on
Blackstone Boulevard, and it will be possible to cross the Boulevard at
President Avenue when foot traffic permits.  The peak runner traffic should
be between 8:15 and 9:15.  For more information, including a route map and a
way to avoid the foot traffic entirely, you can click here
zDrRQ==> . 

The Ward 3 Recall

Residents in Ward Three voted to recall Councilman Jackson from office by a
ratio of greater than 91% to 9%.  Over the next several months, the voters
in Ward 3 will have the opportunity to elect a new City Council
representative.  Based on the content of the recall campaign, the Ward 3
voters focused on the issues of complying with the law and "good government"
in making their decision.  While the change in one City Council position is
unlikely to have a short-term City-wide impact on the City Council's
leadership structure, the recall will remove part of the cloud currently
hanging over City Hall.  It will convey a message to the General Assembly
that Providence is capable of cleaning its own house when circumstances
warrant.  I am hopeful this change will signal a trend which will lead to
better government in the City, and greater credibility for the City when
making its case for help from the State.  To advance this trend, I will now
ask my colleagues to review a series of "good government" reforms (described
in my May 29, 2016 letter
JpxcW5AqA==&ch=AkvDQfqLBNUwBL7Btbq2rDVjl1963eu8VsoEAX136OXRPSnbSzDrRQ==> ) I
introduced at the time of Councilman Jackson's arrest and indictment.  At
that time, the City Council leadership refused to consider these proposals,
instead burying them in committee without discussion, never mind a vote.
Perhaps they viewed it as a partisan issue directed at a member of their
leadership "team".  Now that their "team mate" has been recalled from office
in an historic landslide, I am hoping leadership can see the advantage of
addressing these critical issues for the good of the City.

The City's Pension Deficit

In his budget address last year
ch=AkvDQfqLBNUwBL7Btbq2rDVjl1963eu8VsoEAX136OXRPSnbSzDrRQ==> , Mayor Elorza
emphasized the need to address the City's long-term financial issues,
stating in part the following: "  Today, Providence faces a different, yet
just as dangerous, financial threat; we have a long-term structural deficit
with a $1.9 billion unfunded liability. While we are not facing imminent
insolvency, if we do not resolve our long-term challenges with long-term,
sustainable solutions, Providence risks dying a slow and painful death.   .
.  .  And so tonight, we draw a line in the sand. It's time for a long-term
vision and a sustainable plan that will not only close the growing financial
gap, but will empower us to make the investments we need to improve our
schools, strengthen our neighborhoods, and secure our economy for the next
decade and for the next generation."
I agree strongly with last year's statement, and I regret that this year's
budget address did not mention this critical issue.  This year's budget
includes a $75.8 million pension contribution and an unfunded liability of
$980 million.  According to the actuary's most recent schedule
eu8VsoEAX136OXRPSnbSzDrRQ==> , the City's pension payment in eight years
will increase to $106.4 million, even though the unfunded liability will
remain at $980 million dollars.  The additional $30 million will be taken
away from infrastructure, public safety, schools and/or reduction of our
excessive tax rates.  Also, this schedule assumes a rate of return of 8.25%.
If this is adjusted to a more realistic 7.5%, the amounts of the payments
will increase.  In my opinion, the City must, on an urgent basis, formulate
and implement a realistic financial plan to shore up the City's pension plan
at a sustainable level.  If we do not complete that essential task, this
term of City government will have been a critical failure.
The current budget makes progress in terms of investments in public
education and city services.  With that said, we are running out of time,
and we cannot measure success from incremental gains.  Instead, we need to
heed the Mayor's warning from last year and formulate a plan.


Visit My Website 

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