City Council Requests Audit of the 2017 $45M Bond for Public Works Projects

Council Majority Leader Jo-Ann Ryan (Ward 5), Deputy Majority Leader Mary Kay Harris (Ward 11), and Councilman David A. Salvatore (Ward 14) introduced two resolutions requesting that the City of Providence provide status reports and updates on street and sidewalk projects and their expenditures associated with the $45M Bond that was approved by the City Council in 2017.

“To date the Council has had not been updated regarding what Bond proceeds have been expended,” stated Majority Leader Jo-Ann Ryan. “I have been advocating for accountability for the work that was authorized under this bond for months. When constituents question why certain streets are being paved or not, and why the City is installing ill-conceived street redesign plans they deserve to know how the City is spending their tax dollars. I also want to know how much of these funds were used to develop the Mayor’s ‘Great Streets’ initiative. I am not an opponent of bicycle lanes, in fact, I support creating an urban environment conducive to multimodal transportation. However, that was not what the City Council had in mind when we authorized the City to secure this bond funding. Our goal was to make sure that we spend precious taxpayer dollars to pave and fix as many streets and sidewalks as possible, and to ensure accountability in the process.”

The resolution introduced by Majority Leader Ryan and Deputy Majority Leader Harris focusses on the portion of the funding that was allocated for street repairs, paving, and improvements. “In my Ward there has been little improvement to our streets and that concerns me. My constituents continually ask when their streets are being paved or repaired and I just don’t have the answers. They deserve better,” stated Deputy Majority Leader Mary Kay Harris.

In 2017 the City Council approved the Elorza Administration to take out a $45M Bond to implement a Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) to fund critical improvements to streets, sidewalks, and other infrastructure projects. To date the City Council has not received a public report regarding the status of these funds.

Councilman David A. Salvatore stated, “Holding the Administration accountable for how they spend our resident’s hard-earned tax dollars is not only our duty, but it is unfortunate that we have to do so by passing legislation to get a breakdown of what work has been done. I hear from constituents every day about the state of our sidewalks. I realize that this was a large scale project, but their needs to be transparency for our residents.”

The City Council is requesting the Administration and the Director of Public Works to submit a project progress report and fiduciary updates to the City’s Internal Auditor for review within 30 days of passage.

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