At last week’s City Council meeting, the Council approved a resolution proposed by the Committee on Finance to extend the City’s contract with Waste Management of Rhode Island by three years. Led by Chairman John J. Igliozzi, Esq. (Ward 7), the Finance Committee has deliberated over necessary improvements in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and environmental concerns.
“The contract with Waste Management was very one-sided and didn’t benefit the needs of our residents. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the City has seen a larger amount of waste due to many people and families working from home, and some people are illegally dumping bulky items on the side of the road. This can lead to unsafe and unsanitary conditions in our neighborhoods. I am confident that this contract will make Waste Management more efficient and reliable while also helping residents save some money,” stated Chairman John J. Igliozzi, Esq.
This contract includes a commitment to embracing green initiatives, such as better access to recycling for residents and the use of waste collection vehicles powered by natural gas. Additionally, the contract has been amended to eliminate fees for mattress and box spring collection to residents beginning in January of 2022. Currently, the cost for mattress collection is $26, which has proven to be too expensive for many residents.
“This plan will not only promote public health by keeping our City clean and green, but it will also promote the financial health of Providence residents by making important waste management services such as mattress collection free as of January 1, 2022. I spend almost every Saturday driving through Ward 8 and picking up discarded mattresses. With so many in our communities on fixed incomes or not working due to the current pandemic, we need to provide relief when and where we can. I firmly believe that removing the cost barrier for residents to dispose of mattresses and box springs properly will exponentially cut down on the mattresses that are dumped on the side of the road all around the City,” added Councilman James E. Taylor (Ward 8).
In addition to eliminating mattress collection fees in 2022, the contract includes a plan to create a “mattress fund,” which will be utilized by the City of Providence when a mattress cannot be collected by Waste Management and must be disposed of by the City. “This is another step in saving our resident’s money, and I would like to thank Chairman Igliozzi and my fellow Committee on Finance members for taking these steps for our residents,” continued Councilman James E. Taylor.
As approved by the City Council, the contract will continue until July of 2023, when the Finance committee will again reassess Waste Management procedures in the City of Providence.
Ensuring the Jobs of Over 700 Providence Hotel Employees
City Council Majority Leader Jo-Ann Ryan (Ward 5) introduced an Ordinance, which was passed by the Council for the first time, at tonight’s City Council Meeting ensuring that any hotel worker who was laid off or furloughed due to the COVID-19 pandemic would be rehired before other candidates, as City hotels come back online. The Ordinance is being co-sponsored by Council President Sabina Matos (Ward 15), Council President Pro Tempore Michael J. Correia (Ward 6), Majority Whip John J. Igliozzi, Esq. (Ward 7), Senior Deputy Majority Leader Nicholas J. Narducci Jr. (Ward 4), Deputy Majority Leader Mary Kay Harris (Ward 11), and Councilors David A. Salvatore (Ward 14), Nirva LaFortune (Ward 3), Kat Kerwin (Ward 12), Rachel Miller (Ward 13), James E. Taylor (Ward 8), Pedro J. Espinal (Ward 10), and John Goncalves (Ward 1).
“Over 700 Providence hotel employees are currently laid off due to the COVID-19 Pandemic,” stated Majority Leader Jo-Ann Ryan. “As the industry comes back online, it is important that we get our City’s hotel employees back to work. If you worked at a hotel in March and were laid off, then you should be called back when that hotel reopens. This important piece of legislation will ensure that our hardworking hospitality professionals get their jobs back and can reclaim their livelihoods.”
Leader Ryan continued, “Tourism is a vital component and revenue stream for the City of Providence. Currently, the City’s room occupancy tax revenue is down nearly $700,000 from last year. As travel begins to open up, the hospitality industry will return as a large economic generator for the City of Providence. The proposed legislation will ensure that these dedicated workers will have the option to return to their job by classification and seniority. It’s about fairness.”
City Council President Sabina Matos stated, “Providence hotel workers are the lifeblood of our tourism industry. They are the ones that welcome our visitors, take care of them during their stay, and are part of the very reason why so many people fall in love with our diverse and beautiful City of neighborhoods.”
Over the past several decades, the City of Providence has invested heavily in tourism, from its support of iconic cultural events like WaterFire and its Annual RI PRIDE celebration. Through tax stabilization agreements that gave investors the help, they needed to bring their hotels to Providence. This investment was also an investment in the City’s workforce. With 700 jobs on the line, this legislation will ensure that hotels located in Providence will not be able to permanently fire their employees and ask them to reapply as if they were just starting out with the company.
Majority Leader Ryan continued, “We have read about hotels across the country telling dismissed employees that they could reapply for their jobs. Yet, they start from the bottom-up. Many hotel employees go to work at these establishments for the opportunity to grow within the organization. This is simply not a good business practice. During a time when so many are out of work and are not making ends meet with unemployment, it is incumbent on us as elected leaders to do all we can to protect the interest and livelihood of our hospitality workers. It’s about fairness.”
The legislation also includes protections and enforcement for employees that are not brought back to work, including the right to bring legal action and penalties. The legislation does include a sunset clause and will remain in effect until November 1, 2022, unless it is repealed or the City Council approves an extension or re-authorization.
The Hospitality Worker Comeback legislation had its first passage tonight and will be referred to the Ordinance Committee for further review and discussion.
Tonight, many of us are angered and shocked to hear the news of another incident of violence in our City. The reports of multiple shootings outside of the Rhode Island School for the Deaf in the area of Corliss Park late this afternoon should be alarming to residents, city leaders, and public safety officials. We need more police presence in the North End, and I have been in contact with the Providence Police Department asking them to increase patrols both on foot and by cruisers.
This senseless shooting did not just occur by a park and school, but also by Independence House, an affordable housing complex for people with disabilities. Had today been a warm and sunny day, this could have impacted children in the park and residents enjoying the fall weather.
I will keep residents updated as I know more and will work with community members and our police department to address these this recent uptick in violence we are facing.
David A. Salvatore
Providence City Council
Councilor – Ward 14
Throughout my tenure as a member of the Providence City Council, I have been an outspoken advocate for gun safety and common-sense gun reforms. Programs such as gun buybacks play an important role in removing firearms from Providence streets. I believe that programs like the one being proposed in Providence and Central Falls can potentially get firearms out of the hands of those who might use them to do harm against our fellow residents.
However, the program slated to happen next weekend in Providence includes an amnesty clause. Any firearm turned in through this program cannot and will not be traced or examined to see if it had been used in a violent crime. This sends a clear message to criminals that they can now get rid of their weapons and not face any consequences, while simultaneously being rewarded.
For decades, scores of violent crimes have gone unsolved because of public safety officials’ inability to find the weapon(s) used during the act. This program is equivalent to giving a criminal a “get out of jail free card”.
We owe the victims of gun crimes and their families more than this. They are owed justice. Giving amnesty to potential criminals will only help create more pain and suffering for their victims.
Before this program moves forward, I urge the Mayors of Providence and Central Falls to think about the long-range impacts this may have on our community’s unsolved crimes, and I urge them to remove the amnesty clause from the planned program. Further, I will be introducing a resolution at next Thursday’s City Council meeting calling for the same.
Today Councilman John J. Igliozzi, Esq. honored the life and legacy of former Councilman Philip A. Almagno, also known as Sharkey to his close friends and family, alongside Council President Sabina Matos, Councilor David A. Salvatore, Senator Frank Ciccone III, the Almagno family, and numerous longtime family friends at a ceremony in a small piazza across from Councilman Almagno’s family home.
Councilman Almagno passed away at age 90 on January 12, 2018, a lifelong resident of Silver Lake, and lived on Pocasset Avenue for most of his adult life. The piazza where his memorial is located at the intersection of Pocasset Avenue and Sophia Street directly adjacent to his family home.
Councilman Almagno served two terms as the Councilman representing Ward 7 from 1975 until 1982.
He was the Chief of Weights and Measures for the City of Providence from 1982 – 2003 after which he became a private contractor for the State of Rhode Island: Dept. of Weights and Measures until retiring in 2012.
He also owned and operated Sharkey’s Wholesale Fruit and Produce.
He was also a U.S. Navy Veteran and a Member of the Public employees’ Local 1033. He was an avid gardener and New York Yankee fan. He was known to rally both Yankee and Red Sox fans from Silver Lake for annual trips to see the two teams play in New York City.
Councilman Almagno was very active in the community and was a member of the St. Bartholomew Holy Name Society, Sons of Italy, Piava Lodge, President of the Rosario Society, Past President of the Holy Name Society, and the Seventh Ward Democratic Committee.
In addition, he belonged to the RI Bocce League, United Commercial Travelers, Hope Council Knights of Columbus, Olneyville Little League, Pontecorvo Reunion Committee, Silver Lake Annex Board, and the Providence Fraternal Order of Police.
He was married to Lucy and was the father of Sandra, Cathy, John, Nancy, and the late Ann Marie. He was the grandfather of Melissa, Laurie, Nicholas, John Jr., Kimberly Stephen; and the great grandfather of Mason, Dylan, Lincoln, and Guiliana; he was the brother of Connie Martinelli and uncle to many nieces and nephews.
He was honored at a mass this morning by the Rosario Society and it was a beautiful morning to remember the contributions he made over his decades-long life of service to the Silver Lake neighborhood and to Providence.
At tonight’s City Council meeting, Councilor David A. Salvatore (Ward 14) proposed a resolution requesting that the Department of Public Works create an online application process for overnight parking permits in the City of Providence. This resolution has been co-sponsored by Councilor Rachel Miller (Ward 13), Councilwoman Helen Anthony (Ward 2), Councilman Pedro Espinal (Ward 10), Councilman John Goncalves (Ward 1), and Councilwoman Nirva LaFortune (Ward 3).
“The Department of Public Works is tasked with providing efficient, cost-efficient and high-quality services to Providence residents. The current overnight parking application process is just not meeting that standard. An online process would be safer, more efficient, and will hopefully increase compliance with overnight parking regulations in our City,” stated Councilor David Salvatore.
Overnight parking permits allow residents to park on selected residential streets overnight. Currently, the Department of Public Works requires applications for these permits to be filed in person. Due to COVID-19, in-person interactions have become an inconvenience and risk for both residents and City personnel.
“Many residents in Ward 13 rely on overnight-parking permits to ensure that they can safely and legally park their car on residential streets. This is a necessary City service for constituents without ample parking at their residence, which is a reality for many city dwellers. However, the process for obtaining a permit has become burdensome within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. This resolution offers a safer, easier way to obtain a permit,” stated Councilor Rachel Miller.
COVID-19 has prompted many City services to transition to remote access, and many City resources are available online. While the overnight parking permit application is available to download online, the application must be submitted in person at the Traffic Engineering Building (700 Allens Avenue) or at the Municipal Court located at the Public Safety Complex (325 Washington Street).
“Current circumstances have forced us to re-evaluate our old ways of doing business. In many cases, this has helped municipalities find more efficient ways to serve their constituents. I believe that this initiative to move the overnight parking permit application process online will better serve the community and will make the process simpler for the Department of Public Works,” added Councilor David Salvatore.
Upon passage, copies of this resolution will be shared with Mayor Jorge Elorza and the Department of Public Works.