Advice for the Lenders
Reading news of Providence Mayor Cicilline’s intention to borrow money from the federal government to deal with foreclosed neighborhoods brings to mind, once again, the fact that debt is excluded from municipalities’ spending increase maximums.
Standing on a sidewalk lined with boarded-up houses in the city’s West End, Mayor David N. Cicilline yesterday announced plans to seek $10 million in federal loans to purchase, rehabilitate and, if necessary, demolish foreclosed properties that are blighting city neighborhoods.
The federal funds would be administered through the city’s redevelopment agency as part of the Housing Trust to provide no-interest and low-interest loans to purchase or fix up properties that otherwise might not qualify for financing. The funds also could be used to board up vacant houses, demolish those which are deemed beyond saving and improve the city’s tracking system for foreclosed and vacant properties.
My advice to the federal lender is to administer the loans personally. Rhode Island ain’t so good at such things.