Ward 5

Councilwoman Jo-Ann Ryan

Councilwoman Jo-Ann Ryan represents the neighborhoods of Elmhurst, Mount Pleasant, and the western edge of Manton. She has been a Council member since 2015 and currently serves as the City Council Majority Leader. Additionally, Councilwoman Ryan is Chair of the Committee on Municipal Operations and Oversight and serves on several committees including Finance and Ordinance.



Ward 5: Elmhurst, Mount Pleasant, Manton

Ward 5 stretches across the Northwestern part of the city, encompassing portions of the Elmhurst, Mount Pleasant, and Manton neighborhoods.

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City Council to Move Forward with Single Tax Rate and Single Homestead Exemption

The City Council leadership team would like to thank our sponsors in both the House and Senate for their support of the Council’s progressive tax plan. Tonight, the Rhode Island Senate voted in favor of the Council’s proposed tax plan, while the House of Representatives requested more time and review. The Council is committed to this tax plan and will provide any additional information as requested.

Council President Sabina Matos stated: “I am grateful for the support that we received in the General Assembly. Although we didn’t get the result we had hoped, we have laid the groundwork to continue the discussion on the best path forward in creating a progressive tax plan here in our capital city.”

“I want to thank the Senate leadership for their broad support of our plan that would provide tax relief to the most disadvantaged neighborhoods in our City,” stated Chairman of the Council’s Committee on Finance and Councilman John J. Igliozzi. “I would also like to thank the Speaker of the House, and the Representatives for their consideration of our bold plan. This is the first step in creating a truly progressive tax plan that benefits all residents and not just some.”

Less than seven weeks ago, Mayor Elorza introduced his budget which called for a significant increase in spending and also raised the property taxes of the most disadvantaged neighborhoods in Providence. While giving 1% of the City’s wealthiest property owners a tax break. It was the goal of the Council’s leadership team to mitigate that by utilizing a progressive tax plan.

City Council leadership is still committed to providing tax relief to the citizens of Providence, and will present a budget that will include a flat tax rate, and will incorporate a single homestead exemption for every resident of Providence. The majority of the Committee on Finance and the Council believe that bringing back the homestead exemption will help the most disadvantaged neighborhoods in Providence. Many of those neighborhoods saw 30, 40, and even 50% increases in their property revaluations, and this plan will work to protect those individuals.

“We have a fiscal obligation to ensure that we are being good stewards of our City’s finances,” stated Vice-Chairwoman of the Committee on Finance and City Council Majority Leader Jo-Ann Ryan. “The Committee will work to ensure that we pass a budget that is sound and begins to address our long term pension obligation. I thank Council President Matos and Chairman Igliozzi for their leadership, Senate and House sponsors and representatives for their consideration, and my colleagues for their tireless work to lessen the tax burden of our residents.”

It is the Committee’s goal to have the budget passed out of Committee as early as the end of this week, and then passed by the full Council the first week of July.

Senate Committee Passes Enabling Legislation

Rhode Island Senate Housing and Municipal Government Committee

Passes City Council’s Enabling Legislation to Enact a Homestead Exemption

Last night after more than three hours of testimony, the Rhode Island Senate Housing and Municipal Government Committee, Chaired by Senator Frank Lombardo, III, unanimously passed enabling legislation that would allow for the City Council to move forward with a homestead tax exemption.

In addition to the Senate’s Housing and Municipal Government Committee’s passage, the City Council voted 9-1 in support of the enabling legislation. Council President Sabina Matos, Councilman John Igliozzi, Councilman David Salvatore, Councilman Seth Yurdin, and Councilwoman Nirva LaFortune were at the State House for the Committee’s hearing and were absent from the Council meeting.

“Tonight was a victory for the residents of Providence,” stated City Council President Sabina Matos. “The Council received the Mayor’s proposed budget, calling for an additional $15M in spending, which included a tax proposal that my team felt was inequitable. We are willing and continue to work with the Mayor, but we needed to put into place a mechanism that gave us options, and that is what this enabling legislation does. We appreciate and thank the Committee for their support.”

The City Council leadership team last week introduced a tax proposal that would create an even playing field for all homeowners. The proposal calls for a flat tax rate of $24.56 per $1K of assessed value and would provide a homestead exemption of 40% up to $350K of assessed value, and then a 28% homestead on every $1K of assessed value after that.

The Chairman of the Council’s Committee on Finance and Councilman John J. Igliozzi, Esq. said, “As a body, we must work to protect the most vulnerable amongst us. The plan that we have put forward will provide a break to roughly 86% of owner-occupied properties in Providence. These homeowners are working two jobs to make ends meet; they are the retirees on a fixed income who are making decisions about paying their electric bill or filling a prescription; and they are the single parents trying to give their families a better life. A tax increase of even $200 can be devastating to those on tight budgets. While 7% of owner-occupied properties will see a slight increase in their tax rate over the Mayor’s plan, but will still pay less in property taxes than they did last year, and finally only 7% will likely see a raise in their tax bill over last year.”

The enabling legislation was sponsored in the Rhode Island Senate by Senators Frank Ciccone, Ana Quezada and Samuel Bell all of Providence. The legislation allows for the City Council to grant a homestead exemption to the owner-occupied residencies that may be a flat amount, a uniform rate, or a variable rate based on the value of a property. The Committee is chaired by Senator Frank Lombardo III, the Vice-Chairwoman is Senator Elizabeth A. Crowley, and the Committee’s Secretary is Senator Donna M. Nesselbush, and is comprised of the following members Senators Samuel W. Bell, Hanna M. Gallo, Roger A. Picard, and Gordon E. Rogers.

“Since a freshman Councilor I have worked alongside Chairman Igliozzi on the Council’s Committee on Finance, and we have always put the needs of Providence’s residents first,” stated Majority Leader and Vice-Chairwoman of the Committee on Finance Jo-Ann Ryan. “Providence is facing serious financial burdens, and we have many fiscal obligations that we must meet, but meeting them on the backs of the most disadvantaged neighborhoods is not good governance. We must address inefficiencies in our dealings as a City, and we also need to address the inequities in the Mayor’s tax proposal. I believe that our plan achieves that goal.”

The Council’s Committee on Finance will continue to meet to pass a budget that is fair and equitable for all residents of Providence. Chairman Igliozzi has asked his colleagues and members of the community to make suggestions on ways to amend the budget, and other ideas on how to bring the tax rate lower. The Council has no plans to dismantle any department but is looking at keeping some programs or departments level-funded.

Enabling legislation has also been introduced in the Rhode Island House of Representatives by Representatives Daniel McKiernan, Anastasia Williams, Joseph Almeida, Charlene Lima, and Mario Mendez. They are slated to hear this matter in the coming days.

Committee on Ordinances Approves Affordable Housing Trust

Tonight the Council’s Committee on Ordinance voted to recommend for approval an ordinance which would authorize the appropriation of funds to the Providence Housing Trust. The ordinance will be sent to the full Council for vote and passage.
“This is an important and meaningful milestone for this Council,” stated Council President Sabina Matos. “As I assembled my leadership team, I did so with the knowledge that one of the first things we would tackle is creating a dedicated funding source for affordable housing and this is a step in that direction. I thank Majority Leader and Chairwoman Ryan, Mayor Elorza, and Sam Budway from the Providence Redevelopment Agency for helping bring this to fruition so quickly.”
Mayor Jorge O. Elorza stated, “Expanding access to safe and affordable housing has been a top priority for my Administration because it is a key element for creating stronger, more vibrant neighborhoods in Providence. We are in support of this appropriation of funds for a housing trust as it aligns with a comprehensive housing strategy we are developing to support those most vulnerable in our capital city. We remain committed to continuously exploring collaborative and creative approaches that can help us tackle the housing challenges that our residents feel in our communities.”
Majority Leader and Chairwoman of the Committee on Ordinance Jo-Ann Ryan added, “I am grateful to the members of our Committee who helped shepherd this important piece of legislation through. Housing is the cornerstone of our economy, and the housing shortage here in Providence is real. I believe that this Trust is a big step forward in our goal for more affordable housing in our city.”
The ordinance directs the City Tax Collector to transfer and deposit 10% of all funds collected annually by tax stabilization agreements from the current tax year going forward into the Affordable Housing Trust. The Trust will be managed by the Providence Redevelopment Agency, who will develop rules and regulations around the Trust’s implementation.
“This is the first step in creating a mechanism in which to help fund affordable housing in our city,” stated Councilman Luis A. Aponte. “The Trust creates a direct connection between large developments downtown and the ability to develop much-needed affordable housing in other parts of our city. It is an economic tax policy that will not only create new affordable housing units but will also work to preserve units we already have.”
Deputy Majority Leader Mary Kay Harris echoed Councilman Aponte’s remarks and added, “I have been working for years to help provide for families in need in our city, and the greatest need among them is a safe place to live. Every person deserves to live in dignity, and finding an affordable property for lower-income families is becoming increasingly difficult, and I believe this fund will help create and preserve the much-needed units to serve all those that need them.”
The Council will take its vote on this ordinance at the first meeting in July, scheduled for Monday, July 8.
All ordinances require two passes by the full Council before it is passed into law.

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