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Providence: Small Enough to Fail?

Angel's deficit-busting game face

With our national dialogue dominated by talk of economic recession and the GOP circus primaries, it’s often easy to overlook what’s going on behind the scenes in our beloved city. Well, rest assured — things are going to shit here too. At a press conference Thursday afternoon, Mayor Angel Taveras stated that Providence is in danger of bankruptcy. The city’s deficit stands at $22.5 million. If the current budget stays on track, Providence could be out of money by June.

Things are looking bleak, but  Taveras — who already significantly cut the projected deficit for 2012 — has a plan. He intends to cut benefits for retirees, specifically the compensations for cost of living increases in their pensions. He’s also looking to the city’s nonprofit organizations (read: this University) to pay up. Brown doesn’t pay any taxes to the city (as some parkgoers politely pointed out last month), and Taveras stated Thursday he would support legislation that would force us to give money to the city. Seeing as our total property tax would be over $30 million, this isn’t exactly music to Ruth’s ears.

You could say Providence has run out of Flex Points and is calling up Mom for extra declining balance Bear Bucks. Taveras’ own apt metaphor is that Brown is in the middle of a “Category 5 hurricane.” And we thought the climes were calmer this year…

Did you really read Morning Mail?: See ya, vending stripe

In a move that likely followed years of administrative deliberation, Financial and Administrative Services announced January 19 that it would be phasing out the vending stripe on the Brown Card. Shortly, all vending purchases — including laundry, printing, and the sketchy personal pizzas available from the machine outside of Jo’s — will use the thick magnetic stripe and draw from students’ “Bear Bucks” accounts.

“Bear Bucks” is the new term for monopoly money Declining Balance, which will continue to serve as a payment option at Brown eateries and the bookstore.

According to a January 19 announcement in Morning Mail, only PAWPrints and copier stations have been upgraded so far, with upgrades to vending and laundry machines still pending. Most of the CVC machines on campus have been upgraded as well, so now only the CVC machines in the Bear’s Lair, the SciLi, and EmWool (outside of the V-Dub) will be available for adding money to the vending stripe. Continue Reading