City Council Addresses Troubled Pension System and Other Legislation
- Council passed a pension obligation bond resolution to help mitigate the city’s struggling pension system
- Councilors gave approval to renaming the Windmill School to “The Narducci Learning Center”
- Councilors passed a resolution donating a 1968 firetruck to the Rhode Island Antique Fire Apparatus Society
- Three individuals recognized for their contributions to the city and inductions into The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Hall of Fame
PROVIDENCE, RI – At tonight’s Providence City Council meeting, councilors passed a resolution moving the city one step closer to addressing its critically unfunded pension system. The resolution requests that the General Assembly enact legislation authorizing the city to issue general obligation bonds to finance a contribution toward the $1.2 billion unfunded pension liability of the Employee Retirement System (ERS). “This council understands the unfunded pension liability is one of the most significant issues facing our city and its ability to provide crucial services for taxpayers. We can all agree that doing nothing is not an option,” said Council President John Igliozzi. “Unfortunately, the problem hasn’t been fixed by previous administrations and now it’s our job to address this serious financial situation for the public, the city, and the integrity of our retirement system for future generations. Is this proposed bond the easy answer? No, but it will help mitigate a broken system with an infusion of $500 million. The City Council has added financial guardrails that are essential to making sure pension payments are predictable and affordable. The council respectfully asks our state leaders and state legislatures to keep an open mind in the days and weeks ahead, as they learn more about this proposal,” added Igliozzi.
The city council’s support for a bond is contingent on several financial guardrails, including:
1. Total pension obligation bond payments and the city’s actuarial determined contribution (ADC) shall not be less than $93.1 million for the first 10 years
2. City shall not close any pension bonds without receiving city council approval and bonds shall not exceed an interest rate of more than 5%
3. Expected annual rate of return shall not exceed 7%
4. Salary scale shall not exceed 3% per the current actuarial experience study
5. City shall make 100% of its annual ADC payments
Legislation (S-2321, H-7499) was introduced this week before the General Assembly authorizing Providence to issue a 25 year, fixed-rate pension obligation bond not to exceed $515 million.
Former Windmill School to Become Narducci Learning Center
The Narducci family legacy will live on in the form of a multi-million-dollar renovation project in Ward 4. Tonight, the City Council approved a resolution renaming the former Windmill Elementary School in honor of Councilman Nicholas J. Narducci Jr. and the Narducci family. The building sat abandoned for more than a decade before work began on a $30.5 million project. “I am humbled and honored to see my family’s name on a place that means so much to us,” said Councilman Narducci. “This beautiful building, at the heart of my neighborhood will finally return to its former glory.” The new Narducci Learning Center will eventually become a much-needed ‘swing space’ for students from other renovation projects.
The City Council passed a resolution requesting the transfer of a 1968 Kaiser Mini-Pumper #2 firetruck to the Rhode Island Antique Fire Apparatus Society. According to the resolution, the truck was used as part of the task force assignments on the 3rd and 4th of July when the city battled multiple fires in the 1970s, but is now obsolete and no longer a viable tool for the City of Providence.
MLK Jr. Hall of Fame
At tonight’s City Council meeting, Councilors honored three individuals who were inducted into the City’s Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. Hall of Fame. These individuals bring decades of community service and have been selected for this honor because of their close alignment with the values and principles of Dr. King. Angela Bannerman Ankoma is the Vice President and Executive Director of Equity Leadership at the Rhode Island Foundation. Previously serving as the Executive Vice President, Director of Community Investment at United Way of Rhode Island (UWRI) and the Rhode Island Department of Health, where she was a founding Co-Director of the Health Equity Institute. Ankoma is a board member of the West Elmwood Housing Development Corporation (WEHDC) and a founding member of the WEHDC’s Sankofa Initiative which works to address modern health, financial, and community challenges in the West End of Providence. Additionally, Reverend Howard M. Jenkins, Jr. was honored. Reverend Jenkins has served as the Pastor of Bethel A.M.E. Church in Providence for over ten years. Originally from Portsmouth, Virginia, Reverend Jenkins is retired from General Dynamics Electric Boat after a 31-year career. Reverend Jenkins is the president of the Rhode Island Ministers Alliance and a member of several community organizations. The final inductee honored was Idrees “Lanre” Ajakaiye, a Providence native and the President and CEO of the 25 Bough Street development, an innovative mixed-use commercial space in the heart of Olneyville. Ajakaiye has helped to develop and host events such as the New England Family Fun Festival and the R.I.S.E. Women’s Leadership Conference in partnership with his wife, Hilina Ajakaiye. Ajakaiye also serves as a mentor through Year Up, College Leadership RI, local schools, and has long been involved in youth basketball in Providence. The City Council extends its sincerest congratulations to this year’s inductees and thanks them for their wide-ranging contributions to the City of Providence.