Chafee calls Central Falls crisis ‘a state issue’December 17th, 2010 at 12:08 pm by Ted Nesi under General Talk
The financial woes plaguing Central Falls will have to be tackled by state government, and merging the city with Pawtucket is unlikely to provide the solution, Gov.-elect Lincoln Chafee said Friday.
“I think it’s a state issue. I really do,” Chafee told reporters after a budget summit at Rhode Island College organized by his transition team. He was responding to a report issued Thursday by Judge Mark Pfeiffer, Central Falls’ state-appointed receiver, which suggested the city should be annexed by Pawtucket.
Central Falls is not Pawtucket Mayor-elect Don Grebien’s “first choice for a partner,” Chafee said, adding: “Pawtucket’s got its [own] budget difficulties.”
Once Chafee takes office his administration will start “looking at how we can help” alleviate the problems in Central Falls. He suggested the Department of Transportation could help with the upkeep of the city’s roads or the state police could assist the local fire department. State taxpayers have been funding the Central Falls School District’s operations since 1991, the last time the city faced a major fiscal crisis.
Chafee also expressed concern about the financial situation in other communities, naming Providence, Woonsocket and West Warwick as places he is keeping an eye on. “We’ve got to find a way that these communities don’t fail,” he said.
Chafee pointed out that on top of its financial difficulties, the Central Falls school system is also continuing to falter, with reports this week that as many as 15 percent of the city’s teachers are absent on any given day.
“I’m very concerned and alarmed,” the governor-elect said.
(image credit: City of Central Falls)