December 15, 2022
Parker Gavigan, Director of Communications
City Council Finishes 2022 Legislative Session
- Approves first steps in a new ProvPort revenue sharing agreement and lease extension
- Passes tax treaty agreements for several city buildings and properties
- Passes Providence Tourism Improvement District
- Honors given to 7 outgoing city councilors, the majority of whom are term-limited
- Results of Democratic City Council Caucus released announcing 2023 council leadership
Providence, RI – Tonight, after continued negotiation and community engagement, the Providence City Council took the first steps and approved a new 30-year revenue sharing agreement, bond, and lease extension for ProvPort, Inc., an operator in the Port of Providence on the city’s south side. The new agreements are expected to position ProvPort for expansion and growth and allow the operator to attract new green energy industries, like offshore wind. Both the resolution and ordinance passed tonight. However, more legislative action will be needed for complete passage by the 2023 council. The resolution will become effective on the second passage of the ordinance at a later date.
Details of the agreements include:
- Upfront one-time payment to the city of approximately $7 million from bond proceeds
- Increases gross revenue sharing agreement from 5.5% to 9%
- Establishes a sustainability project fund with a minimum of $120,000 a year to support projects throughout the city
- Establishes a community benefit project fund with a minimum of $120,000 a year to support projects throughout the city (amendment specifies $25,000 to be used for Ward 10 projects and the remainder of the funds to be distributed by the Board of Parks Commissioners for parks and recreation infrastructure projects)
- No further expansion of fossil fuel industries in ProvPort by terms of the lease to 2052
“As the Chair of the Finance Committee, this is likely the best tax treaty passed in the city of Providence. The city negotiated to receive more money in this agreement than we would get by taxing the property at its full taxation value,” said Jo-Ann Ryan, Councilwoman (Ward 5). The Port of Providence is a gem with the potential to become a vital economic engine. This agreement lays the financial foundation for the expansion of green energy in the capital city and future port development.”
Tax Agreements for City Buildings/Property
The Providence City Council tonight approved four tax stabilization agreements with four different LLCs in Providence. The approved agreements are as follows
- A tax stabilization agreement between the City of Providence and 101 Richmond, LLC
- A tax stabilization agreement between the City of Providence and E2000 Realty, LLC
- A tax stabilization agreement between the City of Providence and 71 Richmond, LLC
- A tax stabilization agreement and Tax Exemption plan between the City of Providence and Prospect Charter Care, LLC
These tax stabilization agreements will incentivize sustainable, long term business development in the City of Providence.
Providence Tourism Improvement District
Tonight, the Council approved a resolution authorizing the creation of the Providence Tourism Improvement District. In the wake of COVID-related staffing shortages and supply chain concerns, this legislation seeks to boost the tourism industry here in Providence.
All hotels with fifty rooms or more within the district will be assessed 2% of gross short-term room rental revenue. Those funds will be collected by the City and used to support events inside the district such as meetings, conventions, games, and marketing events. In year one, the budget for the district will be around $1.6 million.
Currently, 194 similar tourism districts exist nationwide, with local examples in Newport and Boston.
Investments in Clean Water Projects
Councilors approved measures allowing the city to invest up to $1 million in clean water, stormwater, and sewer infrastructure projects. The ordinance authorizes the development of Total Maximum Daily Load Implementation Plans (TMDLIP). A total maximum daily load is the maximum number of pollutants allowed to enter a body of water. The plans layout actions and timelines to reach specific water quality goals and standards. Clean water projects are targeted for Mashapaug Pond, Roger Williams Park Pond, the Woonasquatucket River, and the West River. Providence has received confirmation from the Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank, qualifying the city for $400,000 in loan forgiveness on a loan of $1 million. The proposal calls for the balance of the loan to be paid by American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds allocated for sewer and stormwater projects.
Excessive False Fire Alarm Fees
Tonight, the Council passed a resolution regarding Ordinance 9-94 “Excessive avoidable false fire alarm fees.” The legislation aims to curb false alarms on home security systems, by assessing fines after multiple offenses. However, recently, the City Council has received multiple complaints from residents regarding exorbitant late fees without prior notice.
“The purpose of the original ordinance is to reduce the unnecessary drain on public safety officials,” said Councilwoman Jo-Ann Ryan (Ward 5), who sponsored the measure. “The failure to provide proper notice undermines the effectiveness and intent of the legislation, by preventing residents from fixing their faulty systems. It is my hope that through outreach and community engagement, we are able to educate the public and stop these unnecessary fines.”
The resolution calls on the administration to review the enforcement of the ordinance, and the department of public safety to coordinate outreach efforts to educate the community.
Recognition of National Pan-Hellenic Council of RI
The National Pan-Hellenic Council of Rhode Island was welcomed to the Council Chambers this evening, celebrating the charter of the first-ever Pan-Hellenic chapter in the State of Rhode Island on December 10th. The National Pan-Hellenic Council was founded at Howard University in 1930 and comprises the ‘Divine-Nine’ historically black sororities and fraternities. With a focus on leadership, economic empowerment, and professional development, the National Pan-Hellenic Council works with its members and local organizations to establish a positive presence on college campuses across the country.
“On December 10th, 2022, the National Pan-Hellenic Council of Rhode Island was chartered, becoming the first state chapter since NPHC was founded on May 10, 1930. As a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, Theta Psi Omega Chapter, I was proud to be a part of this historical moment. The Divine Nine fraternities and sororities have been an anchor in our community, and I know firsthand the positive impact they have in our state and on the lives of all people. I am excited about the future of NPHC Rhode Island chapter and the collective work and influence of our state’s D9 fraternities and sororities in our community and commitment to foster service, promote community awareness and action and also help cultivate a new generation of leaders in our state” stated Councilwoman Nirva LaFortune.
Honors for Outgoing Council Members
The Providence City Council honored its outgoing members at the final council meeting of 2022. Friends and family joined the seven outgoing members as they received commemorative plaques honoring their years of service to the City of Providence.
- Council President John Igliozzi has represented Ward 7 since 1997 and has served as Council President since 2021.
- Councilwoman Nirva LaFortune has represented Ward 3 since 2017. She is the first Haitian-American to be elected to the City Council and served as the Vice-Chair of the Special Committee on Education.
- Councilman Nicholas J. Narducci Jr. has represented Ward 4 since 2006. He served as the Senior Deputy Majority Leader and the Chairman of the Committee on Ordinances and the Committee on Claims and Pending Suits.
- Councilman Michael Correia has represented Ward 6 since 2011. He served as the Chairman of the Committee on Public Works and was a member of the Providence Water Supply Board.
- Councilwoman Carmen Castillo has represented Ward 9 since 2012. She served as the Majority Whip and the Chairwoman on the Committee on City Property.
- Councilwoman Kat Kerwin has represented Ward 12 since 2018. She is one of the youngest to have been elected to the City Council and served as a member of the Committee on City Property.
- Councilor David A. Salvatore has represented Ward 14 since 2010. He formerly served as the City Council President from 2017-2019.
The Providence City Council extends its deepest gratitude for the many contributions all seven departing Council members have made to the City over the years.
New Council Leadership
Results of the Democratic City Council Caucus were released, announcing the intentions of caucus members to select key leadership positions for the 2023-2027 Providence City Council. The Caucus chose Ward 8 Councilman James Taylor as Majority Leader, Ward 11 Councilwoman Mary Kay Harris as Deputy Majority Leader, Ward 1 Councilman John Goncalves as Senior Deputy Majority Leader, and Ward 6 Councilman-Elect Miguel Sanchez as Majority Whip. Additionally, the caucus unanimously pledged their votes for Ward 13 Councilor Rachel Miller as the next Council President and Ward 9 Councilman-Elect Juan Pichardo as President Pro Tempore.
“This new, diverse, engaged group of elected leaders offers the opportunity to bring fresh perspectives to the work ahead in moving Providence forward,” said Councilor Rachel Miller. “I am honored to have earned the support of the caucus and look forward to working with every member of the council and with the new administration next term as we work on behalf of our neighbors.” Elections for President and Pro Tempore will take place at the organizational meeting on January 2, 2023.