Tonight I welcomed Mayor Elorza into the Council Chambers to offer his proposed budget for the City of Providence. I look forward to working with the Mayor and my colleagues on the Council to ensure a budget that is both fiscally responsible and addresses some of the most critical issues facing our city.
The City Council is looking forward to deliberating the budget and hearing from City departments.
Affordable Housing — The housing market is strong, but we need more affordable housing in Providence. It has been suggested that our city will need roughly 20,000 units within the next ten years to meet demand. With housing costs continuing to rise, our housing market is pricing out first-time home buyers, especially Millennials who are facing higher student debt. The City Council looks forward to working with the newly-created Special Commission to Study Affordable Housing and Mayor Elorza to create solutions to the challenges we face.
School Infrastructure — Our school buildings have been ignored for too long and our kids deserve better. I am looking forward to seeing the details surrounding the $20 Million investment Mayor Elorza has proposed.
Increasing our Tax Base — We need to expand our tax base to keep pace with the momentum of development in our city – without raising taxes. We will achieve this by creating new opportunities for business development, jobs, and generating more pathways to homeownership. We also need to make it easier for businesses to interact with our local government.
Public Safety — My colleagues and I believe that we must continue to increase the number of new recruits to our Fire and Police Academies. I commend the Mayor and our public safety departments for their commitment to making Providence a safer city.
Continued Collaboration — I am appreciative of Mayor Elorza’s recognition of the City Council’s commitment to our City’s youth. I am proud of my colleagues on the City Council for their dedication to creating recreational opportunities for the people of Providence and their commitment to making access to open spaces a priority in our City. We look forward to continuing our partnership with Mayor Elorza and his administration to continue this important work.
Delivering an On-Time Budget — During my first term of the City Council we were faced with what economists have called the “Great Recession,” and we learned that in order for us to grow to where we are today, we had to focus on fiscal responsibility. Every budget faces challenges, and I look forward to following through on that commitment in collaboration with Mayor Elorza.
Rhode Island’s capital city leads the way for the rest of our state, and I am committed to working closely with Mayor Elorza and my colleagues on the Council to lead Providence into the future.
Councilman Seth Yurdin’s resolution to establish the Special Commission to Study Affordable Housing in Providence was passed by the full council at tonight’s City Council meeting.
“Adequate housing is a human right. And key to that is affordable housing. Affordable housing is critical for the well-being of adults, families and children, and it helps make our neighborhoods better places to live,” stated Councilman Seth Yurdin, Ward One. “Bringing together a commission of experts and stakeholders to advise our community on how to tackle this crisis will hopefully help address this serious issue.”
Yurdin was joined by the full council in co-sponsoring the resolution.
City Council President David Salvatore stated, “Just this week I met two amazing women; both were once homeless, but through different pathways they found a place to call home. Although they are no longer homeless, each shared their concerns about the rising cost of housing and their fears of returning to the streets.”
Salvatore added, “We are reaching a critical point in the struggle for adequate and affordable housing in Providence. I feel strongly that by bringing together this group of housing experts we will be able to find solutions to some of the most pressing housing challenges that we are facing today.”
Affordability, as defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, is when housing costs for a family do not exceed 30 percent of their household income. In 2014 the National Housing Conference reported that nearly one-quarter of renters in the Providence metro area spent at least half of their income on housing – which makes them severely “housing cost burdened,” and means they have less disposable income to spend on basic needs. Additionally, the need for affordable housing continues to grow, while stock is diminishing. It’s projected that Rhode Island will need between 34,000 to 40,000 NEW housing units over the next 10 years to keep pace with the demand. Yet, despite this growing need for housing, Rhode Island had the lowest per capita spending on housing in New England in both 2015 and 2016.
Affordable housing can allow households more resources to pay for healthcare and healthy food, and high-quality housing limits exposure to environmental toxins such as lead.
The Special Commission to Study Affordable Housing will be composed of:
Brenda Clement, Director, Housing WorksRI
Barbara Fields, Executive Director, Rhode Island Housing
Sally Hersey, President, Greater Providence Board of Realtors
Melina Lodge, Executive Director, Housing Network of Rhode Island
John Marcantonio, Executive Director, Rhode Island Builders Association
Tonight, I introduced a resolution in support of Senator Miller and Representative Carol Hagan McEntee’s Plastic Waste Reduction Act that has been introduced in the General Assembly. Reducing our dependence on single-use plastic bags is vital to keeping our oceans safe, and our landfills free of single-use bags that are only used for 12 minutes, but last 1000 years.
Single-use plastic bags are not just destroying the environment, but they also cost the cities across the great state of Rhode Island millions annually in recycling contamination fees, and other financial burdens. The Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation sees nearly 60 tons of plastic bags in their facility every year. These are just some of the reasons why I’m supporting Senator Miller and Representative Thomas Winfield’s bill and why I introduced legislation to ban single-use plastic bags in Providence.
After much discussion with my colleagues on the City Council, Mayor Elorza, and meetings with stakeholders, and community groups I will be reintroducing the ordinance in the near future. Doing the right thing isn’t always easy, but it’s important.
– Jo-Ann Ryan, Majority Whip, Providence City Council
The Providence City Council helped secure a location in South Providence for a carnival for children and families of that neighborhood and beyond. Family-owned Rockwell Amusements’ midway will be located between Point and Eddy Streets from April 27 to May 6.
City Councilors Michael Correia, Mary Kay Harris, and Luis A. Aponte worked with Lifespan and Rhode Island Hospital to secure a location for the carnival on a piece of hospital property located across the street from Lifespan’s Coro Center.
“As City Councilors, we know that events like carnivals are not always something that our community members can access,” stated Councilman Michael Correia (Ward 6). “We’re thrilled to be able to help find a location for this event with support from our community partner Rhode Island Hospital.”
“Rhode Island Hospital is happy to work with the Providence City Council to secure a location for the carnival in the neighborhood we share with so many residents and businesses of South Providence. My hope is that the children and families in our surrounding communities have a safe and enjoyable time,” said Margaret M. Van Bree, MHA, DrPH, president of Rhode Island Hospital.
Lifespan will also provide free parking to carnival patrons at the Coro Center garage, and a surface lot at 139 Point St. Street parking will also be available on one side of Hospital and Globe streets.
Councilwoman Mary Kay Harris (Ward 11) shared that “we’re grateful to Lifespan for their commitment to community and for providing a location for the carnival and also offering free parking during the event.”
City councilors will be distributing bracelets to community groups in South Providence for free carnival rides.
“I want to thank our partners at Lifespan for their willingness to work with us and Rockwell Amusements in order to make this festival possible on the Southside of the city,” said Councilman Luis A. Aponte (Ward 10). “The festival will bring together families from around our community and city, and I’m grateful to Rockwell for providing free admission for many of our young people who would not otherwise be able to attend.”
Carnival hours will be from 5-10 p.m. Monday through Friday and 1-10 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
The Providence City Clerk’s Department has launched a new online service, in conjunction with RI.gov, that simplifies the process of how new business tradenames are managed, searched and tracked by the City and its constituents. However, the new system does not yet allow for online tradename registration, and businesses will still be required to register their tradename in the City Clerk’s office.
“Making business easier in Providence is a top priority for the City Council,” stated City Council President David A. Salvatore. “Under my leadership, the Council wants to ensure that Providence is a transparent and welcoming place to do business, and I believe the new Tradename Service is a step in that direction.”
The service replaces an antiquated system that struggled to facilitate over 50,000 tradenames registered in the City, with more than 450 new tradenames being registered annually. In addition to an improvement over features that the old system provided, the Tradename Service now offers city clerks with better user management and improved reporting tools.
“Our department is excited to take full advantage of the efficiencies offered by the new Tradename Service,” said Lori Hagen, Providence City Clerk. “We believe that this service will provide a transparent and positive end-to-end user experience.”
The service is not only beneficial to Providence clerks. For the first time, entrepreneurs can now visit https://www.ri.gov/app/providence/tradenameto browse all existing registered tradenames in the capital city to ensure that their new business name is unique.
“Many times, prospective applicants come to register a business name, only to discover that a similar name already exists in the city,” Hagen said. “With access to this information beforehand, applicants will be able to more effectively differentiate themselves from other businesses.”
The Tradename Service was developed at no cost to taxpayers in partnership with the state’s digital government services provider, Rhode Island Interactive. The service is part of the popular suite of online services currently available through RI.gov (https://www.RI.gov).
About the City Clerk
The City Clerk operates under auspices of the City Council and is the official repository for all ordinances, resolutions and official documents related to the government of the City of Providence and responsible for the authenticity of all legal documents. In addition, the City Clerk collects and presents to the City Council all petitions concerning abandonments and easements, personal injury and automobile or property damage, as well as certificates of Assumed Business Name and Going Out of Business.
RI.gov is Rhode Island’s homepage and official Website (www.ri.gov), a collaborative effort between the state of Rhode Island and Rhode Island Interactive. The RI.gov site and services are developed and maintained by Rhode Island Interactive, a wholly owned subsidiary of the eGovernment firm NIC (NASDAQ: EGOV).
Founded in 1992, NIC Inc. (NASDAQ: EGOV) is celebrating 25 years as the nation’s premier provider of innovative digital government solutions and secure payment processing, which help make government interactions more accessible for everyone through technology. The family of NIC companies has developed a library of more than 12,000 digital government services for more than 4,500 federal, state, and local government agencies. Among these solutions is the ground-breaking digital government personal assistant, Gov2Go, delivering citizens personalized reminders and a single access point for government interactions. More information is available at www.egov.com.