Today, the City of Providence Board of Contract and Supply approved the hiring of Ernest Almonte, Rhode Island’s former Auditor General, to advise the City Council and its members on the proposed FY ’21 Providence City Budget.
As the City of Providence is facing severe budget deficits due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, the City’s Internal Auditor has hired an outside firm to help provide independent guidance during these times of financial uncertainty. Due to the administration submitting a budget dependent on unresolved factors and their request to borrow $90-million, the Internal Auditor felt that it was imperative that the Council get third-party advisement on how to work through these challenges.
“The COVID-19 Pandemic has upturned every aspect of our lives; including our City’s finances,” stated Council President Sabina Matos (Ward 15). “Auditor General Almonte‘s expertise in state and municipal finances will help the Council make the best decisions on how we can maximize our City’s tax dollars in the upcoming fiscal year.“
Ernest Almonte has 40 years of experience working in government, not-for-profits, and higher education, where he has provided technical assistance on accounting and financial reporting issues to federal, state, and local governments. Mr. Almonte is a leader with vast experience working with federal, state, and local government leadership on compliance, audit, and consulting projects. He is a frequent speaker on industry-related topics and spent 16 years as Rhode Island’s Auditor General.
Chairman on the Committee on Finance John J. Igliozzi, Esq. stated, “The Council is prepared to pass a no tax increase budget, but we must understand where cuts can and must be made. With Ernie’s vast knowledge of the state financial system, he will be able to guide the Council and the Committee on Finance through the current financial crisis we find ourselves facing. I look forward to working with him and getting his decades worth of advice to help us make the best and most economically sound decisions for the residents of Providence.”
Mr. Almonte will begin researching the budget, department by department, to find ways to save money and to identify how the City can be the best stewards of resident’s tax dollars as soon as possible.
“I’m happy to be working with Ernie and look forward to his guidance as we prepare to finalize our City’s budget,” stated Providence Internal Auditor Gina Costa. “The City is seeing severe revenue losses across several sectors, and with no idea of when we might begin to see those revenues return, my team and I must have the support in doing our due diligence for the residents of Providence.”