East Providence gets additional CDBG funds, Council approves new rescue purchase

epfd rescue1

EAST PROVIDENCE — The East Providence City Council heard and voted on several other bits of business at its meeting Tuesday night, June 18.

City Community Development Director David Bachrach told the Council the city’s access to federal funding for projects has grown significantly since the original figures were calculated.

After some recalculation, East Providence will receive an additional $72,000 in federal Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Coupled with some $20,000 in unused funds last fiscal year, the city now has upwards of $770,000 in CDBG funding available.

Several inquiries on the use of funds have already been made. The public comment session runs for 30 days through July 19. Mr. Bachrach will then return to the City Council with a finalized lists of prospective projects.

For a detailed explanation and full list of the proposed CDBG projects click here…

New ambulance

By a 5-0 vote, the Council authorized the East Providence Fire Department’s purchase of a new rescue, Advanced Life Support (ALS) vehicle. The rescue comes at a total cost $307,820, nearly of which ($302,820) will be paid for through federal grants. The city’s contribution is $34,556.58.

Abatements deferred

A vote on proposed abatements for four properties owned by tax-exempt groups — three by East Bay Community Action and one by the Columbus Club — was tabled until the next Council meeting scheduled for Tuesday, July 2.

Fireworks sales

The Council, again by a 5-0 vote, approved a hawkers license for the sale of fireworks at two locations by TNT Fireworks. The business will sell the fireworks at 1235 Wampanoag Trail and 30 Highland Ave. The fireworks will be sold under tents at each site, TNT Fireworks having received all of the proper permits necessary to do so.

IT update

The Council unanimously voted to approve what is being called Phase II of a plan to upgrade about 150 work stations used by employees with new computers and other technology at a cost of just over $53,000. The Council also approved the implementation of scheduled upgrades, which will keep technological improvements on a three-year cycle.

Tax resolution

By unanimous 5-0 vote, the Council submitted a resolution to the General Assembly expressing its opposition to bills in the State House and Senate that would change the way contractors are taxed during building projects.

It has been standard practice in Rhode Island and neighboring states to assess partially completed structures on a percentage of completion basis. The bills in the Assembly would free contractors from being taxed until the projects are fully completed and sold. According to the Council resolution, exempting single family development homes and condos from taxation until a development property is sold would result in lost property tax revenue in East Providence estimated at $1,665,200 annually beginning in Fiscal Year 2014.

The resolution further reads, “this special exemption would result in conflicting tax treatment for other new or rehabilitated structures; and the end result would be that existing taxpayers would subsidize developers of new homes.”

The House version of the bill (H5394) was scheduled for a vote on Thursday, June 20.

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