Commission clears way for East Providence cops to replace damaged cars


EAST PROVIDENCE — Four East Providence Police vehicles were damaged to varying degrees last weekend during an armed robbery attempt, and the Budget Commission, at its meeting Thursday afternoon, Nov. 29, granted the department permission to expedite the repair process.

The damage to the squad cars came as a Pawtucket man, 25-year-old Justin Thomas, held up the Domino's Pizza shop on Pawtucket Avenue at gun point Saturday night, Nov. 24. Mr. Thomas commandeered one of the vehicles in an attempt to flee police. In doing so, he damaged the car he was driving and three others on the scene. Mr. Thomas was eventually caught, booked, arraigned and jailed at the Adult Correctional Institution.

A 2006 Ford C/V police vehicle used by a shift commander was one of the cars damaged during the incident. It will be replaced by a 2013 Ford Utility Interceptor valued at $33,672.15.  According to Commission member and City Manager Peter Graczykowski, the money to pay for the new car and to repair the damaged vehicles should come from insurance and asset forfeiture accounts.

The Commission also approved several other requests, including the award of a bid to upgrade the fire alarm and sprinkler system at City Hall. In addition, the Commission granted Finance Director Malcolm Moore the ability send out a Request for Proposal towards the purchase of a new accounting system.

A contract to use Community Development Block Grant funds to improve the flow and flooding issues on the Runnins River was awarded to GZA Geo Environmental Inc., the low bidder in the process. The firm will charge $15,600 to do the work.

The Commission granted City Planner Jeanne Boyle the ability to pursue some $200,000 in Federal Environmental Protection Agency grant monies through its Brownfields Program. Any money gained would be directed towards continued clean up on the city's waterfront at Crook Point and Dexter Road. There is no matching requirement on the part of the city.

The Planning Department also received permission to accept two grants totaling $300,000 towards the design and construction on a new recreation facility at Jones Pond behind Pierce Stadium known as Tranquility Place. Maintenance of the facility once it's complete will fall under the Parks & Recreation Department.

The Commission tabled a request from the East Providence Fire Department to formally award bids for the renovations/upgrades to be done at Stations 1 and 4. Some minor details needed to be ironed out, but they should impact the time needed to complete the project, which is dependent on federal funding.

The Commission also did not bring up for discussion a request from EPPD Chief Joseph Tavares in regards to some restructuring on the assignments and personnel within the department, something the chief had previously sought to achieve at a recent Commission meeting.

The next Budget Commission meeting takes place Thursday, Dec. 13, at 3 p.m. in Room 306 of City Hall.



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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.