Councilman David A. Salvatore Helps Uncover Nearly $31K in Overcharges to City Residents

Councilman David A. Salvatore Helps Uncover Nearly $31K in Overcharges to City Residents

With the help of the City’s Internal Auditor, Councilman Salvatore discovered that a change to the Code of Ordinances in 2011 was never implemented by the Department of Public Works

 

Councilman David A. Salvatore (Ward 14) announced that the results of an audit he requested have revealed almost $31,000 in erroneous overcharges to city residents.

In October, Salvatore introduced an amendment to the Code of Ordinances that would help homeowners and tenants be better informed about their responsibilities when it comes to waste and recycle barrel offenses. Concurrently, he requested that the City’s Internal Auditor perform an audit on all fines issued during the period of July 28, 2011 through September 17, 2019.

“I was very surprised to discover such a significant number of erroneous fines imposed on city residents,” stated Councilman David A. Salvatore. “I want to thank the City’s Internal Auditor for her help and hard work on this project. These fines do add up for a homeowner struggling to make ends meet. An unexpected $50 fine is a big expense for some households, and it is not acceptable for the City to charge folks fines that are inaccurate.”

The report compiled by the Internal Auditor can be read on the City Council Website. During the time frame of the audit, 940 violations are eligible for a refund totaling $30,625.00. The report outlines the background and recommendations to the Department of Public Works (DPW), as well as DPW’s responses.

In summary, the Internal Auditor has made the following recommendations to DPW:

  • Comply with the City Ordinances.
  • Create a separate violation code for late removal of trash receptacles on violation tickets issued to residents.
  • Create a database of tickets from issuance to final outcome.
  • Create policies and procedures for issuance to final outcome.
  • Create routes to physically monitor each neighborhood the day before and after garbage pickup.
  • Review each violation to confirm that coding and dates are correct.
  • Upon completion, reimburse all late violations, $25, $50, or $75 based on the penalties incurred due to lateness.
  • Confirm violations from September 17, 2019 to present have charged correctly.
  • Review vendor reports on a monthly basis for accuracy of coding.
  • Educate the public on the City’s environmental ordinance.

The amendment to the Code of Ordinances proposed by Councilman Salvatore would change the fine structure as it relates to trash and recycle barrels being left out past the designated curfew. The first offense will be a warning, and all subsequent offenses will be tiered beginning with $25 for the second offense (first after warning), $50 for the third, and $100 for all subsequent fines – not to exceed $1,500.00 per calendar year. If a homeowner or tenant is fined four times or more, they will be considered a chronic violator and will be subject to appear before the Providence Municipal Court.

This Ordinance has been referred to the Committee on Ordinances; Councilman Salvatore hopes that the Committee will review this at their earliest convenience, particularly since this is causing such a burden on many of our residents.

Councilman Salvatore continued, “For too long, residents have not had a clear understanding of their responsibilities when it comes to the storage of their trash and recycle barrels. The fines to date have clearly not been consistent with the ordinance, and the amendment to the code will address that issue. This amendment will also educate residents who might not know the statute. In light of the Internal Auditor’s findings it is imperative that the City and the Committee on Ordinance react swiftly to right this egregious wrong. Further, it is important that each and every resident have clear and predictable knowledge of the workings of our City. Implementing a warning phase will help residents better understand their responsibilities for the storage of their trash and recycle bins.”

Councilman Salvatore and the Internal Auditor will work with the City’s Administration and possibly the General Treasurers Unclaimed Property Division to refund homeowners in the coming weeks.

City Council Leaders Introduced a Series of Measures to Expand Safety, Quality and Workforce Development in Construction

City Council Leaders Introduced a Series of Measures to Expand Safety, Quality and Workforce Development in Construction

At tonight’s City Council meeting council leaders introduced a series of amendments to Chapters 14 and 21 of the Code of Ordinances. Together, these changes will create baseline standards for quality, safety, and workforce development in the construction industry.

Amendments to Chapter 14, introduced by Council President Matos, Councilor Pro Temp Correia, and Councilors Miller and Salvatore create a  citywide construction contractor registration process that includes measures to prevent the misclassification of workers as temporary employees.

“Regulating contractors with a registration process protects the physical and economic health of our city residents,” stated Councilor Rachel M. Miller. “By and large, I believe contractors follow the law, but, in an industry that is notoriously hard to regulate, any company that is cutting corners affects the industry and affects the health and well-being of our community. As a community organizer in Providence, I saw three big problems in the industry: workers who had to fight for for their claim to unpaid wages, also known as wage theft; workers who were injured on the job only to find that their employer was illegally classifying their employment as 1099 (or contract work) leaving them with no recourse for workers’ compensation; and workers who worked for a contractor who disregarded health and safety training, not even requiring workers complete the most basic ten hour safety class, OSHA 10.”

The amendments to Chapter 14 require that a contractor who does over $100,000 in construction business per year register with the City’s Board of Licenses every two years. In order to successfully register, an applicant must not have recent wage and hour or health and safety violations. It also must be up to date on its taxes. The $100 fee collected every two years will support enforcement and monitoring of this new statute.

Amendments to Chapter 21, introduced by Council President Matos and Council Pro Tempore Correia strengthen provisions for workforce development through apprenticeship and set a wage standard for work completed with the support of Tax Stabilization Agreements.

“When we put public dollars to work in the form of tax stabilization agreements, we make a commitment to both the private developer and to the residents of the city,” said Council President Sabina Matos. “This is an opportunity to continue to strengthen our TSA policy to ensure that we are getting a return on that investment – in the form of new development and revitalized buildings and also an investment in our workforce. For many years, development tax treaties have required 100% apprenticeship utilization. Apprenticeship is the pathway that turns a one time job into a lifetime career. But, although the ordinance required it, there were still loopholes that allowed that provision to be disregarded. Tonight we’re introducing changes that strengthen apprenticeship requirements. Additionally, we’re setting a standard for competitive wages that will lift up the working women and men in the industry. The City Council believes that there’s always a possibility for a positive ripple effect in our neighborhoods when we pass a TSA, but with these changes, that possibility becomes a promise.”

Statement from Councilman James E. Taylor Regarding Columbus Square and the Christopher Columbus Statue

Statement from Councilman James E. Taylor Regarding Columbus Square and the Christopher Columbus Statue

There has been much discussion about the fate of the statue of Christopher Columbus that resides in the Elmwood neighborhood of Providence. Tonight I will be introducing a resolution requesting that no decision be made regarding the statue without a robust and full engagement with the residents of the Elmwood neighborhood.

The statue is significant to the history of the community, not because of who the statue honors, but for the reason where it stands. It was created by master sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, the sculptor who designed the Statue of Liberty and was made specifically for Providence’s Gorham Manufacturing Company. It was originally cast in silver as a way to highlight the company’s expertise and was presented for display at the 1892 Columbian Exposition in Chicago.

The bronze-cast replica was created in 1893 and dedicated in November of the same year. It was a gift to the City of Providence from the Elmwood Association, a civic group comprised of residents of the neighborhood near the Gorham Plant. The statue is located in Columbus Square which is located in the heart of Elmwood and is a steadfast reminder of Elmwood’s past and prosperity. Columbus Square has also been listed on the National Register of Historic Places for nearly two decades.

The resolution that I will be introducing is only to ensure that any discussion that may or may not occur around  – the location or proposed relocation – of this statue includes the Elmwood Community and its residents.

James E. Taylor
Providence City Council
Councilman – Ward 8

City Council Leaders Introduced a Series of Measures to Expand Safety, Quality and Workforce Development in Construction

Providence City Council to Create Youth Sports Fund & Grant Program

Tonight Council President Sabina Matos (Ward 15) will be introducing an amendment to the Code of Ordinances that would set-up a fund specifically for the support of Providence non-profit youth sports programs. The amendment is being co-sponsored by Council President Pro-Tempore Michael Correia.

The fund is being set-up as a way to deter panhandling or soliciting by these organizations. The fund will require that any youth sports group which receives funding from the program will be prohibited from panhandling or soliciting on or around any roadway or where traffic is present.

“As I travel around the City I often see young athletes ‘canning’ at some of our City’s busiest intersections,” stated Council President Sabina Matos. “As a mother that gives me great concern that these young people are risking their personal safety to get the funds they need to support their programs, and I asked my team to look at how we can mitigate ‘canning’ and help provide the support that these groups might need.”

The Youth Sports Fund & Grant Program will be held in a separate permanent fund of the city and will be held in trust by the City Treasurer. The fund will be administered by the City’s Recreational Advisory Board who will grant funding to Providence-based local non-profit youth sports organizations. The fund will be seeded with $40K annually through an appropriation from the City’s budget. The fund will support funding for equipment, costs associated with travel to compete, and to participate in sports-related activities.

City Council President Pro Tempore Michael Correia added, “I am thrilled that we have found a way to support our local non-profit youth sports programs that do so much for our community and our young people. This fund will provide access to those groups that need it, and is set-up to ensure that we are supporting as many of our youth sports organizations as we possibly can.

Once the amendment is passed and the fund is created the City Treasurer will work with the Recreational Advisory Board to help implement a grant submission application.

RIDE Accepting Nominations for Community Design Team Members – RIDE Acepta Nominación para Miembros del Equipo de Diseño Comunitario

RIDE Accepting Nominations for Community Design Team Members – RIDE Acepta Nominación para Miembros del Equipo de Diseño Comunitario

Dear Neighbors,

RIDE has announced that they are seeking nominations for their Community Design Teams to help create a brighter vision and future for the students of Providence. If you would like to nominate yourself or have someone you would like to nominate you can do so below.

Sincerely,

Sabina Matos, President
Providence City Council
Councilwoman – Ward 15

The Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) is Looking for Nominations for Their Community Design Team

From RIDE:

Thank you for contributing to our work in Providence by nominating someone to serve on a Community Design Team. Please fill out the information below so that our review team can fully evaluate all nominees.

As a reminder, the Community Design Teams (CDTs) will focus their work on the three priorities Commissioner Infante-Green identified in her Vision for Education in Rhode Island, “Reimagining Education: From Hope to Results.” These priorities are World-Class Talent, Excellence in Learning, and Engaged Communities. Once selected, the three CDTs will work intensively over 100 days to develop initiatives that will be integrated into the State Turnaround Plan for the Providence Public School District (PPSD).

Any inquiries about the Community Design Teams should be directed to designteam@ride.ri.gov.

To make a nomination you can do so by visiting their online nomination portal: NOMINATE


Queridos Vecinos,

RIDE ha anunciado que están buscando nominaciones para sus Equipos de Diseño Comunitario para ayudar a crear una visión más brillante y futuro para los estudiantes de Providence. Si desea nominarse a sí mismo, o tener a alguien que le gustaría nominar puede hacerlo a continuación.

Sinceramente,

Sabina Matos, Presidenta
Consejo Municipal de Providence
Concejal -Distrito 15

El Departamento de Educación de Rhode Island (RIDE) esta Buscando Nominaciones para su Equipo de Diseño Comunitario

De parte de RIDE:

Gracias por contribuir a nuestro trabajo en Providence al nombrar a alguien para servir en un equipo de diseño comunitario. Por favor llene la información abajo para que nuestro equipo de revisión pueda evaluar completamente a todos los nominados.

Como recordatorio, los Equipos de Diseño Comunitario (CDT) centrarán su trabajo en las tres prioridades identificadas por la Comisaria Infante-Green en su Visión para la Educación en Rhode Island, “Reinventando la Educación: De Esperanza a Resultados.” Estas prioridades son Talento de Clase Mundial, Excelencia en el Aprendizaje y Comunidades Comprometidas. Una vez seleccionados, los tres CDT trabajarán intensamente durante 100 días para desarrollar iniciativas que se integrarán en el Plan Estatal de Respuesta para el Distrito Escolar Público de Providence (PPSD).

Cualquier consulta sobre los Equipos de Diseño Comunitario debe dirigirse a designteam@ride.ri.gov.

Para hacer una nominación puede hacerlo visitando su portal de nominaciones en línea: NOMINATE

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