Council Meeting Recap - 2/6/18
Tuesday night’s meeting started with the immediate announcement that the performance reviews of both the City Manager and the Law Department had been dropped. Mr. Faria read a statement of support for City Manager Chapman.
Councilman Faria presented certificates to two local Riverside business, Ourplace 2 and Carla’s Gift Baskets. It is great to see local business highlighted.
Mr. Mourato, a Bristol Police Officer discussed a lock box program in Bristol that he wants to launch in East Providence.
Not everything stayed positive however, under public comment, Kevin Oliver called into question the city’s Facebook page, highlighting a lot of the remarks made on social media over a post that was missing a word. Mr. Oliver called the page the “Brian Faria show” and disparaged the post’s grammar, questioning who wrote it.
Mr. Oliver, once a supporter of Mr. Faria, asked if anyone had any questions, since he had 10 seconds left. Mr. Faria, who had been directly named in the remarks was not allowed to respond by the Mayor, citing a non-existent rule that hadn’t been enforced previously, Mr. Briden himself had responded to public comment in the past and Councilman Botelho had cleared up any Open Meetings Act issues earlier in the term.
It was later confirmed by Kelly Aherns, the IT Director that she made the post. Mr. Faria praised the IT Director’s work on the Facebook page and other work with Mr. Oliver yelling a remark from the back of the room.
On HR, Mr. Chapman announced that a police captain will be assuming charge of the HR Department on an acting basis to help get the department back on track. This is a good move to hopefully clean up the long-standing issues in that area.
Mr. Faria announced that the city is pursuing the purchase of street lights with the Public Utilities Commission after an agreement couldn’t be reached with National Grid. A lot of progress with ADP according to Aherns, going paperless and moving to online self-service portals and paperless paystubs.
There was a detailed presentation from URI Landscape Architecture seniors and grad students with a powerful vision for our unused waterfront. Hopefully we will see at-least some of that become a reality.
There was also a presentation on the State Street culvert project, DPW seems to have a solution at hand but residents also had a lot to say as well as startling pictures of the flooding that occurs. It is horrible to see what happens to these residents. Hopefully DPW’s plans abate these conditions.
The City Manager presented the yearly tax bill donation box to go to the Townie Pride fund, a fund that will be run by East Bay Community Action Program to assist residents in crisis.
Also of note, the memorandum of agreement were finalized with the state DOT to repave Pawtucket Avenue and Warren Avenue, hopefully work will begin in the next couple of years with state reimbursement following.
Many residents have received drinking water notices, Mr. Marvel the Water Superintendent presented the plans to rectify the situation. Many improvements have been made to the water system including pipes, the water tank and a coming aerator which will resolve the problem. Residents can still drink the water, the disinfectant by-products are only dangerous at the current levels if exposed over a prolonged period of time.
Note that the police and fire pension fund is now in critical status at 55% funded due to the change in actuarial valuation, it was previously hovering at 61%. The fund had been buoyed by the Asset Forfeiture funds (Google Money).
Last up was an ordinance modernizing the fire code in East Providence to match state standards. A change that is long overdue to comply with state law.