To calculate each city or town’s total debt, WPRI combined data from the R.I. General Treasurer’s “2012 Report on Rhode Island’s Local Government Debt” with figures on unfunded pension-plan and retirement liabilities from the Municipal Employee Retirement System.
Dividing total debt and liabilities by the number of residents in each municipality, according to 2012 U.S. Census Bureau population data, WPRI came up with that city or town’s per capita debt.
Among the state’s municipalities, Exeter had the lowest per capita debt at $322, while Foster had the second-lowest at $444.
Providence claimed the highest per capita debt at $7,366 per person, followed by Newport ($6,279), Woonsocket ($6,125) and East Greenwich ($5,593).
While the per capita figure does not represent an actual bill each resident will receive, WPRI said, it provides a means for residents to track their community’s potential solvency. The WPRI per capita numbers did not include a municipality’s liability for “other post-employment benefits” such as a retiree’s health care costs.
To see an interactive town-by-town map of public debt created by the TV news team, click HERE.
Join PBN for the best networking event and party of the winter - January 15, 2015 - the Book of Lists Party at the Providence Public Library. Reserve your spot by December 31st and get a holiday gift from PBN!
PBN's annual Book of Lists has been an essential resource for the local business community for almost 30 years. The Book of Lists features a wealth of company rankings from a variety of fields and industries, including banking, health care, real estate, law, hospitality, education, not-for-profits, technology and many more.