By: Melissa Toupin
Central Falls has long been in the national spotlight for being one of only seven cities in the country that have gone bankrupt. Now, it's reached a milestone, emerging from chapter nine bankruptcy faster than any other city.
This is a huge accomplishment for a city that just a year and a half ago was tens of millions of dollars in the red, forced to declare bankruptcy. No the books are balanced, putting the city closer to it's independence.
The city of Central Falls coming out of bankruptcy today. An encouraging sign for business owners.
"We want to keep in business. That's why we invested a lot of money in the new building, but we don't' know how it's going to be," said Tavares.
Tavares' restaurant, La Casona, was hit hard by the cities financial troubles. Still, he's wiling to take a chance by opening up a second restaurant down the street.
"We're worried. Because everything is going up...including the taxes," said Tavares.
While the books in Central Falls may be balanced things won't be going back to the way they were before the bankruptcy. Families and businesses will see property tax increases over the next five years starting at 4 percent.
"It's a plan that, on the surface, theoretically should work, should keep the budget balanced, and should keep this city operating," said Central Falls city councilor Bob Ferri.
Ferri says the tight budget allows for services like police and fire to remain in tact, but they won't be getting any boost in funding unless the city managers to find extra revenue. The receiver believes it's the best way to erase the cities $6 million operating deficit and $79 in pension and health obligations.
"We can get through the pains, I'm hoping," said Ferri. "We have to. We just have to. We're all in this together."
Central Falls saved $3.5 million in legal fees by emerging from bankruptcy as fast as it did.
Elected officials will have to submit statements to the court proving they are still on track four times a year, or else risk going back into bankruptcy.