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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Majority Leader Jo-Ann Ryan Joined Staff at Stop & Shop on Manton Avenue to Kick-Off the Plastic Bag Reduction Act

Providence City Council Majority Leader Jo-Ann Ryan, (Ward 5) joined Assistant Store Manager Frank Carnevale and members of his staff this morning at the Stop & Shop located at 850 Manton Avenue to give out free reusable bags. In addition to giving out the reusable bags, Majority Leader Ryan even helped bag groceries. Stop and Shop is giving out 300 free reusable bags at each of their Providence locations today to the first 300 customers.

“I was very happy with the reception we received from customers regarding the change from single-use plastic bags to reusable or free paper bags,” stated City Council Majority Leader Jo-Ann Ryan. “As the lead sponsor of this initiative I have worked for over two years with my community partners Clean Water Action, Conservation Law Foundation, Zero Waste Providence, and the City’s Office of Sustainability to craft a plan that is designed to minimize the impact on customers and retailers, and maximize the effectiveness of the law by saving money, protecting our environment, and improving the quality of life in our neighborhoods. This effort could not have happened without their support. I want to thank them, and Stop & Shop for helping ensure that those who need a reusable bag have a chance to get one tomorrow!”

Stop & Shop began preparing for the change from plastic to paper earlier this month. They are offering free paper bags, and their Stop & Shop reusable bags are being sold at 2 for $1, and they also have a variety of novelty bags – like ones celebrating the New England Patriots for $1.99. They have various other options at other price points as well.

”We share our customers’ concern over the environmental impact of plastics waste, so we are proud to be a part of this change in Providence,” said Jennifer Brogan, Director of Community Relations for Stop & Shop. “We also want to make the transition easier for our customers by giving away reusable bags, which is the most sustainable choice for the planet.”

The Providence Plastic Bag Reduction Act, modeled on similar laws and best practices enacted in Boston and other municipalities and states across the country, will:

  • Significantly reduce the use of plastic bags in Providence.
  • Exempt certain dry cleaning and laundry bags, as well as those used to wrap or contain frozen foods.
  • Allow businesses to be able to use its supply of plastic bags.
  • Require the City’s Office of Sustainability to conduct a comprehensive public education outreach initiative to ensure that residents and businesses are properly informed. And requires regular reporting to the City Council on Program effectiveness.

Majority Leader Ryan continued, “We use over 95 million plastic bags annually in just our city alone. That’s a very real problem, not simply for the litter these bags create in our neighborhoods, but because these bags come with a very real cost. There’s the nearly $1 million the city spends yearly in rejected recycling loads largely due to the presence of plastic bags in our recycling barrels. Additionally, these bags often end up in Narragansett Bay and other area waterways, where they break into smaller pieces called microplastics. Those microplastics pose a deadly threat to sea life, and Clean Water Action has found that they are now a serious source of contamination in the Bay. That’s why passing this legislation was so important, not just for Providence, but for the State.”

Providence joins the following Rhode Island municipalities in banning or reducing plastic bags in their communities: Barrington, Bristol, Jamestown, Middletown, Narragansett, New Shoreham, Newport, North Kingstown, Portsmouth, South Kingstown, Tiverton, Warren, and next month East Providence will come online, followed by Cranston on July 1, 2020.

For community members who need a reusable bag, or have reusable bags they would like to donate, they can do so at any of the Providence Community Library Locations.

For more information on Stop & Shop, visit them on the web at stopandshop.com

Council Majority Leader Jo-Ann Ryan Announces Update on Eaton Street Restriping

Providence City Council Majority Leader Jo-Ann Ryan, (Ward 5) announced today that the striping and signage on Eaton Street will be reversed ‪before November 1, 2019. Planned sidewalk and curb cut work will be completed by ‪December 1, 2019 weather permitting.

“I am pleased that the administration has provided a deadline for bringing this project to conclusion,” stated Majority Leader Jo-Ann Ryan. “While I am not opposed to bike lanes or opportunities that offer multimodal transportation, the city needs to balance all new initiatives with the needs of the surrounding community, particularly when it is a matter of public safety.”

Majority Leader Ryan continued, “I want to once again thank my neighbors for working together to address these genuine issues of public safety. I would also like to thank the Administration for working collaboratively to get this job done as quickly as possible.”

Leader Ryan will continue to advise community members as information becomes available. Please look to City Council social media channels and website for further updates.

City Council Committee on Finance Discussed Asset Transfers as a Tool to Address Unfunded Pension Fund

Tonight the City Council’s Committee on Finance, Chaired by Majority Whip John J. Igliozzi, Esq. (Ward 7), invited Xaykham Kamsyvoravong, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Providence Water Board to discuss municipal Asset Transfers as a potential tool to help address the City’s underfunded pension fund.
“Providence is not the only city in the State that is facing serious pension liabilities,” stated Finance Chairman John J. Igliozzi, Esq. “There are 17 other municipalities that have critically underfunded pension plans, and Providence is one of them. It is not only necessary but prudent that we explore all options on the table to mitigate our liabilities and obligations.”
Asset Transfers are a common practice by corporations to help support their unfunded pension liabilities. This practice moves the ownership of a non-cash asset from an entity to its pension fund, allowing the asset’s appraised value to offset unfunded pension liabilities.
Majority Leader Jo-Ann Ryan and Vice-Chairwoman of the Committee on Finance (Ward 5) said, “The City of Providence is facing serious long-term financial challenges, and we need to explore all avenues to address our unfunded pension fund. I want to thank Xaykham Kamsyvoravong for his scholarly paper from his time at Roger Williams Law School, his service to the City of Providence, and for joining us to begin an important discussion.”
Leader Ryan continued, “Clearly, asset transfers are not a silver bullet for state and local governments or pension funds, and there are many challenges that need to be addressed. It is hard to identify assets suitable for this funding mechanism and even more difficult to price and structure them fairly. More importantly, an asset transfer should only be one piece of a well thought out, efficient long-term plan that includes pension reforms. We will be looking for help from our State colleagues to determine if it should be part of our long-term plan. Bottom line – it is an accepted accounting treatment that can positively benefit our balance sheet. It doesn’t solve for the cash flow that is needed to address our financial challenges, but it may be part of the broader solution.”
“This is not a new concept, corporations have used Asset Transfers for decades to leverage the value of their assets,” stated City Council President Sabina Matos. “The Council is looking broadly at our pension obligations, and felt this idea is worthy of further discussion.”
In 2017 the state of New Jersey transferred the New Jersey Lottery to its pensions for a 30-year term, and it offset nearly $13.5 billion of unfunded pension liability. Other states like Connecticut and Illinois are currently exploring this process to mitigate their pension liability as well.
Council President Matos continued, “We have serious financial obligations facing this City – from our schools to infrastructure, to a ballooning pension. Nothing should be off the table, and every idea must be explored and vetted. Asset Transfers are just one area that my leadership team is exploring. This Council is not willing to shirk its duty, and we must be proactive. I applaud the Committee on Finance, and it’s Chairman John Igliozzi and Vice Chairwoman Jo-Ann Ryan for being so willing to explore these difficult scenarios.”

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