Providence, Rhode Island, the largest city and capital of the state, will most likely seek to file bankruptcy to deal with a budget deficit. Providence is only one of many U.S. cities looking to bankruptcy court protection as the solution to fiscal woes.

In light of the increasing number of struggling municipalities, The Bond Buyer and Ballard Spahr co-hosted a conference on distressed cities that examined these issues. Public Finance Chair William C. Rhodes, who moderated a conference panel discussion, warned that many municipalities are at risk of defaulting on their debts. Some community leaders, he noted, are choosing between paying bondholders and maintaining vital services, such as police and fire protection.