Although the District of Columbia currently is bedeviled by cash-flow problems, city officials said last week they hope to be able to avoid a return to costly borrowings in the tax and revenue anticipation note market.

"We would like to avoid Trans and try to get some systemic reforms," said Ellen M. O'Connor, deputy mayor for finance.

City officials have attributed the difficulties to draws on their cash by what are supposed to be self-sustaining entities, such as the water system and the city hospital.

O'Connor said officials are studying a rate increase for water and sewer services and are working with the hospital to increase revenues. Officials also are reviewing how to get quicker reimbursements from the federal government for human services expenditures. O'Connor said those efforts will pay off with "improved cash," mitigating the need for Trans.

O'Connor told reporters last week that though the city faces difficulties, "the question is, do you lie down dead in front of it, or do you say, ~Hey, what can we do to make it less bad?'"

When asked why the city had not sought a water rate increase sooner or taken more aggressive steps earlier to increase hospital revenues, O'Connor said, "The Yankees used to say that about, you know, if the dog hadn't stopped he would have caught the rabbit. We can't take back what we didn't do yesterday, but we're telling you what we are going to do in the future."

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