Some property tax late fees could be eliminated in East Providence

Council approves contracts for water construction, consulting efforts

By Mike Rego
Posted 10/23/20

EAST PROVIDENCE — The City Council at its October 20 meeting gave the first of two necessary approvals, revising an ordinance that would remove late fees on taxpayers in good standing if, in a …

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Some property tax late fees could be eliminated in East Providence

Council approves contracts for water construction, consulting efforts

Posted

EAST PROVIDENCE — The City Council at its October 20 meeting gave the first of two necessary approvals, revising an ordinance that would remove late fees on taxpayers in good standing if, in a rare occurrence, they are tardy on a bill.

The amendment, sponsored by Council President and Ward 1 member Bobby Britto, would set in law the requirements for the property owner to get a bit of relief.

Said requirements for a waiver of late fees are as follows: the property owner has lived in the residence for at least the last five years; it is presented to the city in writing, signed and dated; the owner has made timely payments of taxes to the city for the five years immediately preceding the payment which is overdue; the fee was issued less than two years prior to seeking of the waiver; and the late charge does not exceed $500.

Mr. Britto, who said he was told the situation could be comparable to a driver being charged for speeding but otherwise has a spotless record, explained the amended ordinance would do right by residents. He said it was especially meaningful to do so at the moment, considering the financial hardships many residents are facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We should be looking to wave some of these fees we impose on residents,” he added.

Finance Director Malcolm Moore, who noted the revisions were in accordance with Rhode Island General Laws 44-5-8.1(c), described the move as a “way to help taxpayers, especially good payers and who every once in a while miss a payment.”

Ward 2 Councilor Anna Sousa agreed with those assessments, adding it followed a similar edict made by the previous council initiating a grace period of seven days to pay bills upon their issuance without penalty.

“I think it’s another step in the right direction,” Ms. Sousa said. “It’s another step in trying to show residents that times can be difficult and that we’re here to work with you…Obviously we need the money coming in to effectively run the city, but we’re not trying to push people out because they can’t pay effectively their taxes.”

Construction contract
The council backed a resolution allowing the office of Mayor Bob DaSilva to enter into an agreement with D’Ambra Construction for continued work on the South Broadway Culvert Replacement project.

The additional work, to cost $105,000, calls for the installation of 560 feet of 8-inch water main, three new 8-inch valves, three new curb stops and house service lines to those curb stops as well as pressure testing and disinfection.

D’Ambra Construction was contracted previously for initial work on the project at $393,000. The effort is being paid for through a $600,000 Capital Improvement line item approved earlier by the council.

Consulting contract
The council also approved a resolution giving the administration the ability to contract the consulting firm Arcadis to continue assisting the city as it engages with Suez on a proposed new 10-year agreement to operate most of East Providence’s water system.

The total payments to Arcadis for its services are not to exceed $117,415.

Next meeting
With the usual first Tuesday of next month being Election Day, the council, as it previously approved, will not gather as usually scheduled. Instead, the body will next meet on Tuesday, Nov. 10.

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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.