Blount Seafood returns as Looff Carousel concessionaire

Johnston landfill “tipping fees” will increase under new contract

Posted 5/6/21

EAST PROVIDENCE — Blount Seafood, headquartered in nearby Warren, will return to the Crescent Park/Looff Carousel as the main provider of concessions at the historic site after a year away due …

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Blount Seafood returns as Looff Carousel concessionaire

Johnston landfill “tipping fees” will increase under new contract

Posted

EAST PROVIDENCE — Blount Seafood, headquartered in nearby Warren, will return to the Crescent Park/Looff Carousel as the main provider of concessions at the historic site after a year away due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and will also do so under revised contract terms approved by the City Council at its May 4 meeting.

Blount was supposed to be back for the 2021 season in a new stand/office building at the carousel, but work on the project has also been hampered by the pandemic and a lack of initial funding. Instead, under the amended deal, Blount returns with its mobile truck, under a reduced lease and with fewer days present.

The council backed the reworked pact, which drops Blount’s lease from $2,000 each month from May through August to $750. It also decreases the operational hours from five days to likely three days per week. A fourth day could added if beneficial to both parties.

“Every one is happy,” said At-Large Councilor Bob Rodericks, explaining his support of the agreement. “They can still visit Crescent Park, attend any concerts and things we may there and have access to a Blount food truck while they’re there, which I think is a good resolution in the meantime.

The council approved a line item of $150,000 in the Fiscal Year 2020-21 Capital Improvements budget to support the construction of the new building. That figure, though, was later deemed to be insufficient. The council followed up by approving the re-appropriation of another $100,000 to the project, but construction and all aspects associated with it aren’t expected to be completed in time for the current season.

“It’s only fair,” Councilor Ricardo Mourato, in whose Ward 4 district the park is located, said of the revamped deal. “Hopefully with the Capital Improvement project building completed they will come back and be permanent residents. It’s only fair to revisit that contract now.”

Revaluation contract
The council backed a request from the Office of Mayor Bob DaSilva to enter into an agreement with Northeast Revaluation Group LLC to perform the statistical property analysis as required by state law.

The contract is for $176,800 and takes the place of a previous deal with Vision Government Solutions. Northeast’s bid was $8,700 above that of Vision.

A statistical revaluation is required twice over a nine-year period. Northeast, one of three bidders to provide the service, will perform the second of those in the current cycle with the next full revaluation scheduled to take place in 2024. The state reimburses municipalities for a portion of the revaluations.

Landfill agreement
The council cleared the administration to sign off on a contract renewal with the Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation for dispensing of the city’s solid waste and recycling at the Johnston landfill.

Commonly referred to in the industry as “tipping fees,” Council President and Ward 1 member Bob Britto explained the contract is negotiated through the Rhode Island League of Cities and Towns.

It’s a two-year pact, which will see the cost of using the landfill rise from the current $80 per metric ton of refuse to $90 for Fiscal Year 2022, then $100 per for FY23.

School bonds savings
The council also approved an ordinance allowing the administration to issue general obligation bonds, “Refunding Bonds,” as a means of reducing the costs associated with those previously released for school building renovations.

The initial bonds were for $15 million. Through the Refunding Bonds, the city should see savings of $363,635 over the 10-year length of repayments or an average of $31,000 per year per bond.

Willett Avenue rezoning
The council granted a request from the applicant to delay for two months its consideration of a zone change from Residential 3 to Commercial 2 for the mixed-use parcel located at 697-699 Willett Avenue.

At the council’s April 20 meeting, the proposal, which the owners said would more easily allow them to lease the commercial space at the front of the property, was met with stern opposition from area residents, who said the zone change was ambiguous and could potentially allow for future full commercial redevelopment.

The item will now next be taken up at the July 6 gathering of the body. The two month delay will allow for a formal review of the property by land surveyors.

In explaining the request to the council, City Solicitor Michael Marcello said, “Subsequent to that meeting, I met with the owner, the lawyer and the planning department and we think we have a solution which will satisfy the neighbors, but we have to get the survey done.”

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