East Providence City Council quickly clears meeting agenda, passes stabilization plan

Helder Cunha defeated Bruce Rogers for the Ward 2 City Council seat in the most surprising of the results from East Providence Tuesday. Helder Cunha defeated Bruce Rogers for the Ward 2 City Council seat in the most surprising of the results from East Providence Tuesday.

EAST PROVIDENCE — In what a brisk final scheduled gathering for the calendar year 2013, the East Providence City Council approved several appointments and licenses while also passing what it deems a key piece of economic legislation at its meeting Tuesday night, Dec. 17, in the City Hall Chamber.

The Council gave its second and final approval to significant changes to the city’s Tax Stabilization ordinance for tangible property. The Council first heard of the proposed amendments and passed the draft resolution during its meeting Tuesday night, Dec. 3.

Introduced by Ward 3 Councilman Tommy Rose, the Council voted 5-0 both times to make significant changes to the provision, which has been on the books in the same form since its original implementation back in 1998.

Among the key addendum to the ordinance are:

The words “business tangible property have been added.”

Establishing an incremental tax exempt schedule over six years (100 percent exempt in Year 1 to 0 percent in Year 6) for qualified participants.

Once denied participation in the process, apartments, condominium complexes and hotels ,which meet the qualifications established, are now eligible to participate.

The minimum threshold of existing eligible tangible property to participate in the program is being raised from $50,000 to $150,000. Also, the minimum threshold for new businesses rises from $1 million to $5 million. And the terms of the program have been reduced from 20 years to 10 years.

For those businesses which are currently using Tax Incremental Financing or may be endeavoring to do so, they will not be able to procure relief through Tax Stabilization concurrently. According to Ms. Boyle, it’s an either or proposition.

In addition, prior to authorizing any property tax stabilization for the property, the property owner must obtain a Municipal Lien Certificate from the tax collector’s office, indicating that the applicant business and/or property owner is current on all payments owed to the city. Any payments that are in arrears on the property shall render the applicant ineligible for the incentives offered.

Appointments/licenses

The Council passed the following appointments on a unanimous vote: Traffic Control, Joseph Vincent; Traffic Control, Richard Peters; Juvenile Hearing Board, Robert Rock; Board of Assessment Review, Luci Stoddard

The Council likewise approved the following licenses by a 5-0 vote:

Transfer from Cilantro Mexican Grill, LLC DBA Cilantro Mexican Grill to CMG Holding Company, LLC DBA Cilantro Mexican Grill, 430 Newport Avenue (02916) John Palmieri, 17 Doane Road, Barrington (02806); Transfer from Cilantro Mexican Grill, LLC DBA Cilantro Mexican Grill to CMG Holding Company, LLC DBA Cilantro Mexican Grill, 430 Newport Avenue (02916) John Palmieri, 17 Doane Road, Barrington (02806)

New business

Continuing his early brevity since being appointed as acting city manager last month, Paul Lemont did not offer an official report, but did wish everyone a “Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.”

Ward 2 Councilman Helder Cunha requested the city look into streamlining its permit process, suggesting much of it be made available on line through the internet.

Mr. Cunha also asked for clarity on the city’s ordinance requiring the need to use a surveyor for home improvements. The Councilman noted the cost of using a surveyor usually runs in the neighborhood of $1,200 to $1,500 which is often more than the actual cost of some homeowner projects.

Mr. Lemont said the city implemented the surveyor requirement after several years and incidents of homeowners, knowingly and unknowingly, crossing property lines. Ward 1 representative James Briden also noted the need to determine “setbacks” or the distance required to build away from said property lines.

Both City Public Works Director Steve Coutu and Fire Chief Oscar Elmasian, formerly the fire marshal, said surveyor use is also mandated by the state building code.

Lastly, Mr. Cunha asked why, according to protocol, the American Flag on the City Hall grounds was not being lighted properly at night. The flag can fly in the evening, but only if it is illuminated. Mr. Lemont said in the past the flag was flown and taken down each morning and evening by a dedicated crew of City Hall workers, but there simply aren’t enough remaining. It was decided the flag would get proper lighting for nighttime exposure.

The Council adjourned, returning to session for the first time in 2014 on Tuesday evening, Jan. 7. The complete schedule of Council meetings next year is as follows:

January 7 and 21; February 4 and 18; March 4 and 18; April 1 and 15; May 6 and 20; June 3 and 17; July 1 and July 15; August 5 and August 19; September 2 and 16; October 7 and 21 and October 7 and 21; November 5 (Wednesday due to Election Day) and 18; December 2 and 16.

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