Councilman David Salvatore has been a member of the Providence City Council since 2010. He represents the neighborhoods Elmhurst and Wanskuck neighborhoods. Councilman Salvatore has been a strong advocate of financial and pension reform in the city. As the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Pension Sustainability during his first term, he oversaw the drafting of a report that made recommendations designed to stabilize the pension system and reduce the system’s unfunded liability.
Ward 14: Elmhurst and Wanskuck
Covering the neighborhoods of Elmhurst & Wanskuck, Ward 14 is located on the northwestern quadrant of the city. Here you'll find Providence College and the ever-popular LaSalle Bakery. The Wanskuck Historic District was once the location of a thriving mill village built along the West River. The mills have since closed but many of the buildings are still there, located, including The Wanskuck Public Library. This historic building is located on Veazie Street. The current building replaced the original library that was built by the Wanskuck Mill Company for its workers. Though the mill is closed, the library is still a going concern. In 1983, the historic district was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
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.”
Hundreds of homeowners overcharged
PROVIDENCE, RI — Following an investigation by a local media outlet early this month, Councilman David A. Salvatore has uncovered discrepancies related to fines issued to homeowners for trash violations.
Media outlet NBC10 alerted Salvatore to a $50 fine being assessed to homeowners leaving trash bins curbside after midnight of their assigned trash day.
“During my conversation with the reporter, I recalled an amendment that was approved by the City Council which reduced first time trash violation fines,” said Councilman Salvatore. “After some research of Providence’s Code of Ordinances, it was confirmed that the City Council had amended the Code to set a more equitable fine structure in 2011.”
Those amended fines were set at $25 for a first offense and $50 for a second offense, with all subsequent fines to be levied at $100 and not to exceed $1,500 per calendar year. Despite the 2011 ordinance change, Salvatore’s research concludes that residents have been receiving first-time violation citations at the $50 fine level – with no $25 fine listed on the citations.
Councilman Salvatore immediately asked for a comprehensive audit of trash fines, and the city put all fines on hold while working to determine whether any improper fines had been assessed. The city’s Internal Auditor is still reviewing more than 1,000 citations related to early storage and/or late removal of trash containers. From the information analyzed thus far, it is estimated that 60 percent of the citations reflect an overcharge.
“Many of our constituents are working two or even three jobs just to put food on their table. Any overcharge is unacceptable, but especially when so many of our residents are already struggling to get by,” said Salvatore. “While I believe that this was an honest mistake, this is an example of extreme carelessness and lack of clear policy and protocol. In addition to ensuring that technology reflects correct information, we need to ensure that our inspectors are trained properly on changes to municipal ordinances they are tasked with enforcing.”
Salvatore noted that the audit of trash fines is still underway; however, as with any thorough review, this audit is a long and cumbersome process that involves culling through physical tickets and other related documentation. He pledged to provide full details of the audit when it is completed and to ensure that any overcharged homeowners receive restitution.
“As elected officials, we have a duty to keep our streets clean and safe. However, we also have a duty to protect our residents, and we owe it to them to follow the rules that we ourselves have set forth,” said Salvatore.
Councilman David A. Salvatore Introduced an Amendment to the Code of Ordinances to Help Homeowners and Tenants Alike
Tonight Councilman David A. Salvatore (Ward 14) 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.
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 $1500.00 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.
“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,” Stated Councilman David A. Salvatore. “The fines – to date – have not been consistent with the ordinance and the amendment to the code will address that issue. The amendment will also educate residents who might not know the statute.”
The amendment to the Code of Ordinances will be sent to the Committee on Ordinances before the Council will vote on the matter.
Councilman Salvatore continued, “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.