Out of Control Policy Blog

Providence Officials Considering Asset Sale/Lease Proposals

As the Providence Journal reports, Providence (RI) Mayor David Cicilline's administration is considering a variety of asset sale/lease proposals to help close a budget gap:

City sewer lines and possibly parking meters could be for sale or lease, under proposals being considered by Mayor David N. Cicilline’s administration as the cash-strapped city looks for immediate revenue.

Cicilline has budgeted about $11.7 million worth of "special revenue" in his spending plan for the fiscal year that began July 1. The plan is currently before the City Council, which returns from its August recess this week. "Special revenue" is a catch-all line item in the city budget for any land sales or one-time money makers that the city anticipates for the coming year.

One option is selling city-owned sewer lines that connect to the sewer mains owned by the Narragansett Bay Commission, the quasi-public agency that runs the Field’s Point sewage treatment plant. The city estimated it could net $3 million, based on a rough estimate of the current value of the pipes. [...]

City officials also say they are looking at the possibility of leasing the city’s 1,500 or so parking meters. "We’re looking at anything that makes money," said City Director of Administration Richard I. Kerbel. "We have to exhaust every option and look at every revenue stream because we need to keep up services. This is not the time to cut back." [...]

The sewer line and parking meter proposals are just conceptual at this point, say city officials, even though the sale of sewer lines is already built into the mayor’s budget. "In general, I think we ought to avoid selling assets that generate revenue when we can," Cicilline said recently. "I can tell you that parking meters are not on the table this year."

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