EAST PROVIDENCE — The East Providence City Council took up the much-discussed Community Development Block Grant budget for the fiscal year at its meeting Tuesday night, June 19, in the City Hall chamber, finally settling upon a combined plan to the direct the funds between human services and economic growth.
The Council eventually voted unanimously to approve a slightly altered version of the so-called “Plan B,” which was developed in conjunction with Planning Department Director Jeanne Boyle.
Of the two proposals discussed, Plan B and D, provided a more generous allocation of funds to human services, a difference of about $50,000. Under the revised Plan B approved by the Council some $95,000 would be put towards a job creation program, about $21,000 would be earmarked for job training. In addition, a little over $10,000 in asset forfeiture money available to the city would directed towards violence prevention ($5,250), child advocacy ($3,200) and teen violence prevention ($1,180) programs.
City Manager Peter Graczykowski, who along with Ward 2 Councilman Bruce Rogers sits on the Budget Commission, recommended the Council approve the Commission-backed Plan D because it had built-in aspects of flexibility. He did say, however, Plan B was also a “reasonable choice.”
Plan D called for a majority of the available funds, upwards of $400,000, to be directed towards enhancing the city’s economic development, funneling the cash towards assisting existing businesses and attempting lure new ones to East Providence. A little over $72,000 would initially target human services programs.
As part of Plan D, however, there was a caveat in regards to the use of the money. If after a six-month trial period evidence shows the business aspects of the proposal are “unutilized or unsubscribe” to, then the Planning Department can return to the Council with a new plan to reapportion the money into the human services sector up to the allowable 15 percent cap.
As part of amending Plan B, Councilman At-Large William Conley inserted similar language, which would give the Planning Department the ability to return to the Council within a six-month period to repurpose the funds if they weren’t being used.
Ms. Boyle said either of the plans up for consideration were functional for her department. She said guidelines mandated by the United States Government agency Housing and Urban Development (HUD) created a “sense of urgency” to use the funds in a proper and timely manner. If not, the city could stand to lose the money.
“We’re under pressure to set up these programs and make sure the businesses are using them,” Ms. Boyle added.
No more tents
The Council voted by it is now its patented 3-2 vote to adopt a revised ordinance in regards to the sale of fireworks in tents stationed throughout the city.
Ward 3 Councilman Thomas Rose submitted the revised ordinance which beginning on July 6 of this year would prohibit the sale of fireworks in tents. The sale of fireworks would not be prohibited in East Providence, but anyone wishing to put the product up for purchase would be required to lease or buy existing available commercial real estate buildings.
Mr. Conley and Ward 4 Councilman Michael DiGioia voted against the measure. Mr. DiGioia respectfully said to Mr. Rose he could not support the measure because “I think it’s bad for business, bad for the city and just not a good idea.”
Mr. Rose asked East Providence Fire Department Chief Joseph Klucznik to address the matter. Chief Klucznik could not offer any definitive answers on the matter. He said the department would obviously prefer to have fireworks up for sale in facilities with up-to-code fire suppression systems. He said his department hasn’t, however, had any problems with tents to date. Ultimately, Chief Klucznik said there were “too many variables” on the matter for him to offer up a conclusive opinion.
Unmoved by Chief Klucnik’s considered indifference, Mr. Rose, Ward 1 Councilwoman Katie Kleyla and Mr. Rogers voted in the affirmative.
Joshua Freitas, doing business as “Tasty Dog,” was granted a Hawker license to set up his hot dog cart at the annual Heritage Days festival next month. The license was approved by a 4-1 vote, Mr. Rose voting against.
Debra C. Gomes, on behalf of Bethany Church of the Nazarene, 1275 Pawtucket Ave., requested and received Council approval to allow nearby Chaffee Street to blocked off each day from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. during the duration of the Church’s Bible School/Camp, which takes Aug. 20-24. The motion carried 5-0. The church must now submit and get paperwork approved by the East Providence Police Department.
During his Claims Committee Report, City Solicitor Orlando Andreoni, made public the decisions made by the Council in executive session on matters brought to its attention. In the matter of workman’s compensation litigation involving Heidi Dubuque vs. City of East Providence, the Council voted unanimously to settle for a sum of $12,000. Two new claims of personal injury due to fall on city property, by Colleen Derrick and Lori Santilli, were passed along for consideration by the city’s insurance carrier. A claim brought up for reconsideration by Kathleen Rodrigues of damage done to a motor vehicle by a pothole, was denied. Lucia DaLomba’s claim of $299.82 for damage caused by a city tree was approved.