PAWTUCKET – The City of Pawtucket’s fiscal strength continues to improve as documented by the release of the fiscal year 2017 financial audit with a $134,379 general fund surplus. This was accomplished, again, without having to increase the taxes of Pawtucket residents and businesses. The independent audit, completed by Marcum LLP, reported that the City ended the year with a surplus for the sixth year in a row.

The City’s solid financial position is due to the implementation of strong business practices, financial accountability and a team focused on providing cost effective services. The Grebien Administration, including Finance Director Joanna L’Heureux, have turned budget deficits into surpluses, reduced the tax rate, held the line on taxes two of the previous three years and consolidated services.

In 2012, the City had a $12.6 million cash flow deficit and had to borrow funds to pay its bills. The rainy day fund was minimal. Today, the fund has grown to $14 million. The City’s bond rating went from junk bond status to A+ (Fitch) and A3 (Moody’s) in just seven years.

“We have made real progress over the past seven years to lessen the burden on our hardworking taxpayers and be an attractive community for business,” said Mayor Grebien. “Facing the threat of bankruptcy, we had to move fast. It hasn’t always been easy, but has certainly been worth it. It was a team effort with the support of the City Council, School Committee, School Administration and every city employee, resident and business owner. We are a community that works hard and refused to let our city fall to bankruptcy. We continue to tackle the long neglected issues in this community from facilities to infrastructure to our retirement funds.”

“We continue to build upon the foundation that we laid and are looking forward to implementing new software systems that will provide the City and the School Department with more efficient financial accountability and analysis tools which will allow us to continue to make prudent decisions that are in the best interest of the future of our city,” said Joanna L’Heureux.

In addition, the audit shows that the City still has challenges ahead as total revenues were $2,512,618 less than expected. However, expenditures came in under budget ($2,646,997) due to management practices, unfilled positions and lower than expected medical costs.

Rhode Island General Law (§45-10-4) requires all municipalities and regional school districts to undergo an independent financial audit prior to the close of the fiscal year. The audits are then submitted to the Auditor General and the state Director of Revenue. For more information or to access the City’s audits, please see: http://www.pawtucketri.com/finance-department/budgets-and-audits.