Providence to see where voters stand on $515 million pension bond

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — A ballot question will ask Providence voters Tuesday if they support the city taking out a $515 million bond to help replenish the underfunded pension system.

Voters in Providence hitting the polls Tuesday to answer the question if they support the city taking out a $515 million bond to help replenish the city’s pension system which is one of the lowest funded pensions in the country.

“It does feel like a gamble. Because it feels like we’re headed into a recession,” said Christina Nickerson, a Providence resident. “I felt like I had to vote yes because we have to try something.”

Several voters we spoke with Tuesday said they are voting yes in hopes of saving their pensions that have seemingly been forgotten about over the past few decades.

If residents vote no, the city risks heading into a further downward spiral. Which could lead to tax hikes and job cuts.

If the vote passes, the city will work to pay a $515 million bond off over a 25-year period.

“We’re trying to address this to give us some breathing room so we can mitigate payments, but also provide city services the people deserve,” said John Igliozzi, Providence City Council president

The special election and its results would be non-binding, meaning voters will not be final-decision makers. The final decision will be Mayor Jorge Elorza and City Council President John Igliozzi, who are both expected to vote yes.

Igliozzi discussed the funding structure of the bond, which would be paid off annually for 25 years.

“The money gets issued. It gets put into the system, it gets invested, and you get another return. And then every year the city pays that pension bond off,” Igliozzi
said.

The final decision will be Elorza and Igliozzi, who are both expected to vote yes.

Voters can enter their address on vote.ri.gov to find out where their polling place will be. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Categories: News, Rhode Island