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City Council Tackles Graffiti, Street Sweeping, Catalytic Converter Thefts, Creates Special School Repair Fund

April 7, 2022


Parker Gavigan, Director of Communications
[email protected]

City Council Tackles Graffiti, Street Sweeping, Catalytic Converter Thefts, Creates Special School Repair Fund

• Councilors approved the creation of a special revolving fund for building maintenance and repairs at Providence Public School

• Councilors call on DPW to begin alternate side parking while sweeping city streets

• Councilors call on the city’s director of public property to remove graffiti from city neighborhoods and replace broken furniture in the public security complex

• Council takes action to tackle catalytic converter theft and calls on state lawmakers to take further action

School Repair Fund
City Council passed a final ordinance, creating the Providence Public Schools Department Capital Improvement Revolving Fund, a measure that will immediately help repair aging buildings. According to Providence Public Schools, the fund will “turn $8 million from already dedicated local sources into $54 million in school capital projects over the next 10 years, with no additional money from Providence taxpayers.” The fund allows PPSD to carry out capital improvement projects eligible for reimbursement of housing assistance. The state reimburses projects up to 91%, and the reimbursed funds are then reinvested in other projects, which will lead to additional reimbursements. A 2017 review of school buildings in the city showed that 27 of 38 school facilities were in poor or worse condition. Some example projects for 2022 include $1.5 million to upgrade water bottle fillers/bubblers in 23 schools and replace boilers in six schools. “Many of our city schools have suffered from deferred maintenance. We need to do better for our students and teachers,” said council chairman John Igliozzi (Ward 7). “This first-of-its-kind revolving fund uses start-up funds to leverage state reimbursement, allowing the city to make these much-needed repairs quickly,” Igliozzi added.

Street/sidewalk sweeping Parking
Councilman David Salvatore (Ward 14) proposed that the city provide alternate side parking while crews sweep the streets, a practice commonly used in other cities. The amended order allows the Department of Public Works to issue a full or partial parking ban to aid any street sweeping effort. “At certain times of the day, the streets are not swept because cars are parked on both sides. It’s time we gave our DPW and street sweeping operations another tool to ensure this quality of life issue is addressed in a timely and effective manner,” Salvatore said. DPW will launch a pilot program on three streets in Ward 14 in the coming weeks, including outreach to residents. Last year, Councilman Salvatore introduced and council passed legislation requiring DPW to sweep every street in the city six times a year and certain sidewalks at least three times a year. Part of this new law also requires DPW to maintain a publicly available street and sidewalk sweeping schedule and give the public 48 hours notice before sweeping.

Graffiti, trash and broken furniture
Councilman Michael Correia (Ward 6) presented three resolutions aimed at improving the quality of life throughout the city of Providence. Two of these resolutions call on the city’s Department of Public Property to step up its efforts to remove graffiti from the city’s fifteen wards and to upgrade tools and office furniture in the public security complex, where many employees of the city work in dilapidated office conditions. The third resolution directs the Department of Public Works to clean glass, sand and litter from the sidewalks along Academy Avenue, Chalkstone Avenue and Atwells Avenue. “I introduced them to solve everyday problems that affect the quality of daily life and the administration of our city. Providence residents deserve clean sidewalks, visually appealing buildings and comfortable working conditions. I look forward to continuing to partner with various city departments to make Providence work for our residents and employees,” Councilman Correia said.

Fight against theft of catalytic converters
Councilman David Salvatore (Ward 14) is targeting catalytic converter thefts with two bills approved by City Council tonight. With the theft of these valuable motor vehicle parts on the rise, the city council approved Councilor Salvatore’s ordinance that would impose stricter sales rules and record keeping to be shared with local police. The order provides law enforcement with tools to closely monitor sales and investigate trends while increasing penalties for repeat offenders. Councilman Salvatore also calls on the state legislature to work with the city to protect individuals and organizations from the unknowing acquisition and sale of stolen catalytic converters. “It is essential to address this continuing trend and codify this ordinance into state law. I look forward to working with the General Assembly to create barriers for criminals here in Providence and throughout Rhode Island,” Councilman Salvatore said. The resolution proposes to prohibit cash purchases by processors. The resolution also calls on the General Assembly to add a provision requiring catalytic converters to be marked with the vehicle identification number (VIN) and cross-checked by law enforcement throughout the state.