East Providence City Council approves finance ordinances

The Kettle Point area on the East Providence waterfront. The Kettle Point area on the East Providence waterfront.

EAST PROVIDENCE — The East Providence City Council passed a pair of finance related ordinances at its meeting Tuesday night, July 15, including one that should save the city a significant amount of money.

Finance Director Malcolm Moore proposed an ordinance which would allow the city to issue what are called general obligation refund bonds. In essence, the new bonds would be used to pay off those taken out by the city between 1999 and 2004 at a total of some $33 million.

A little over $16 million is owed on the original bonds. By refinancing, Mr. Moore said the city would its interest rate drop from 4.64 to 2.64 percent and at an anticipated savings of $971,591. Mr. Moore added the city would take the savings in a lump sum during the upcoming fiscal year.

The Council also gave its initial approval to an ordinance revising the terms of the East Providence Special Waterfront Development District’s Tax Increment Financing (TIF) program with regard to the Kettle Point project.

Key to the revised ordinance, as was the case in previous incarnations, it maintains the city’s independence from any financial liability as to the funding of the Kettle Point plan. Repayment of the bonds is to be done by the developer.

City Planner Jeanne Boyle told the Council the change in the ordinance was necessitated by the need for the developer to change its plan for some 70 housing units in the project from condominiums to apartments.

The ordinance must be passed a second time to take effect.

Roofing notes

Acting City Manager Paul Lemont told the Council the contractor set to replace the worn roof at the Odd Fellows Home in the Watchemocket district as well as that of the press box of Pierce Stadium has withdrawn his bid after considering the cost of prevailing wages for workers.

Mr. Lemont said he was told roofers are paid an estimated $70 per hour, meaning the contractor’s bid of $59,050 for the project was well short in his mind. The second lowest bid submitted for the projects was $95,000. Mr. Lemont told the Council he first wants to have engineers conduct a structural review of the Odd Fellows Home to make sure the building is worth saving and at what cost.

“The building is old. There isn’t much parking available. And the water has been leaking into it for a very long time,” Mr. Lemont said. “We’re hoping we can get some grant money to turn it back into the magnificent building it once was.”

The manager conceded it likely would take over $1 million to renovate the structure in its entirety.

School notes

School Committee liaison to the Council, Tony Ferreira, also addressed some construction issues taking place in the district.

Mr. Ferreira told the members work began last week on re-roofing the Whiteknact Elementary School.

In addition, 60 “Smart” boards have been purchased to be installed at East Providence High School, where also some 5,000 square feet of old chalkboards are being considered for conversion to “white” eraser boards. Painting and re-carpeting at the high school, as well, is on pace to be complete by the start of classes in early September.

Finally, Mr. Ferreira noted the installation of a new playground for the Special Needs program at Waddington Elementary is scheduled to take place on August 22 and 23.

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