Providence City Council President Sabina Matos (Ward 15), and co-sponsors Majority Leader Jo-Ann Ryan (Ward 5), Majority Whip John J. Igliozzi, Esq. (Ward 7), Deputy Majority Leader Mary Kay Harris (Ward 11), Councilor David A. Salvatore (Ward 14), and Councilman John Goncalves (Ward 1) introduced a resolution tonight calling on the Department of Planning and Development to promulgate strict rules around employment and contracts relating to the I-195 Tax Stabilization Agreement (TSA).
“The requirements outlined in our TSAs impose specific employment criteria that developers must adhere to in exchange for being provided an incentivized tax structure,” stated City Council President Matos. “Providence needs to ensure that we are putting our residents to work and that we are developing our own local economy. When developers ask to be exempt from these requirements, they are seeking to receive special tax benefits without having to make a meaningful contribution to the residents of this City.”
Section 21-266 of the Code of Ordinances defines strict employment standards that all developers must abide by should they wish to obtain a TSA within the City. These employment standards include dedicating at least 10% of the construction costs for Minority (MBEs) and Women-owned Businesses (WBEs), as well as ensuring that 100% of the construction hours worked on the project are done by contractors who have or are affiliated with an apprenticeship program. The Code of Ordinances currently provides the Director of Planning with authority to reduce these employment requirements should a Developer petition the Director to do so. President Matos’ resolution is aimed directly at these petitions for relief by asking the Director of Planning to promulgate strict and specific rules regarding how petitions will be evaluated moving forward.
President Matos continued, “All too often we hear stories of our local MBEs and WBEs being overlooked by contractors and developers. We are a city on the proverbial financial cliff, our residents need to work, and making it harder for developers and owners to no longer be able to get around these requirements will go a long way to keeping our residents working, and ensuring that our city continues to grow forward.”
The resolution will require the Director of the Department of Planning and Development to create strict rules and regulations governing the procedure by which petitioners for relief of Section 21-261 are vetted and approved.