East Providence News Briefs
$6.5M "Mystery" explained: It's "Inter-fund Liability" Not "Found Money"
An independent auditor and the State financial advisor still in the city since the days of the state budget commission, has clarified the often discussed notion that the city recently discovered some $6.5 million in "found" money. Financial advisor to the city, Paul Luba, addressed a joint meeting of the city council and school committee on November 19, 2019. "I want to get rid of one mis-conception. The auditors did not discover, find or uncover $6.5 million. They did not reveal it," said Luba in a matter-of-fact manner. "The city has $6.5 million on their books as an I.O.U. to the schools. The schools has on their books that the city owes them $6.5 million. Both books were presented to the auditor who then did some audit work," continued Luba. "They (auditors) said the city owes the school $6.5 million and the school is owed this by the city. So you can't discover or reveal anything that has been given to you. It's not like the auditor found anything," maintained Luba.
Luba explained that although the money exists in the city's bank account part of the year, the lack of synchronization between the fiscal and tax years means that the city also "runs out of cash and has to borrow." Luba explained that most of the $6.5 million was generated from school surpluses. In response to a question from Ward 4 councilman Ricardo Mourato, Luba said that it would be "most prudent if the money were transferred to the school account over three to four years."
At the council's November 5th meeting, at-large-council member Bob Rodericks had requested that the 2018 auditing firm of Blum Shapiro appear to discuss their interpretation of the $6.5 million. "Your charge tonight is a difficult one," Rodericks asked the auditor. "Can you please put what has been a very difficult issue in layman's terms. Can you give us the paper trail and history of this surplus," asked Rodericks.
"What this is, is not a surplus as related to financial reporting. What we have is an inter-fund liability, it's often referred to as due to-due from. The balance since October 31, 2018 is a little over $6.5 million. This is the liability that the city owes the school fund in unrestricted funds," continued the auditor's representative. "At the end of October 2017 the liability was actually $9.3 million, so it actually declined from the past fiscal year of a little under $3 million," said the auditor. "It's an inter-fund liability, not a surplus." Council members Mourato and Ward three member Nate Cahoon had suggested the joint council - school committee meeting which was approved for November 19, 2019.
At that joint meeting, school committeeman Tony Ferreira made a motion that the schools would request the city council disperse the $6.5 million equally over a four year period. The non-binding request was approved by the school committee. The city council will decide on this dispersement procedure at a subsequent meeting.
East Bay Pipeline Repair Completed, All Water Restrictions Lifted
The Bristol County Water Authority released a statement in late November which declared that water pipeline repairs were completed. "We are pleased to share that repairs to our East Bay Pipeline have been completed and the main is in service," said BCWA Executive Director, Pamela M. Marchand. "All water restrictions have been lifted. Water is now being supplied via the pipeline from Providence Water, and we are no longer connected to our emergency supply with the City of East Providence. Water quality remains high and fire flow protection is ample.
We want to thank you again for your patience and support in this effort. You should experience no change in your water delivery, however please contact our customer service team with any questions or concerns at (401) 245-2022 or our Emergency Hotline at (401) 245-5071 (after 4:00 pm)," added Marchand.
On April 9th, 2019 the BCWA found water coming up in the parking lot in the Port of Providence where their water enters the supply line. This line runs 160 feet under the Bay from the Port of Providence to Pawtucket Avenue in East Providence and then on to the East Bay communities. It is not a feed for East Providence.
A leak was found in the BCWA line in Providence. The BCWA plan was to repair the leak without any shutdown if possible. "We worked in an area which transitions pipe from ductile iron to 30"steel to 24"steel to tunnel under the Bay," added Marchand.
An 18” PVC pipe was pulled through the 4500-foot length of the 24” East Bay Pipeline in a process called “slip-lining.” This effectively sealed off the two identified leaks on welds which were located about 1/3 of the way from Providence under the river. No other leaks were found during the repair process, and the pipeline was determined to be in otherwise good condition. The repaired pipeline was then pressure-tested, flushed and disinfected. "The repair was completed within our projected budget and timeline," said Marchand.
The BCWA has been pursuing the construction of the Pawtucket Pipeline as permanent secondary water supply for the past several years. This is to ensure all BCWA customers have adequate water supply in the case of an emergency, unexpected loss of supply from Providence Water, or if there is damage to our East Bay Pipeline (as was just the case). "We are continuing to move forward with the Pawtucket Pipeline, with Phase I of the project beginning in 2020. We are also applying for an infrastructure loan through the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to assist with funding," added Marchand.
East Providence Mayor Appoints new Fire Chief
The city of East Providence has named Glenn J. Quick as Chief of the East Providence Fire Department effective Nov. 18, 2019. After a recommendation by a panel of fire officials and interviewing candidates, Mayor Bob DaSilva has appointed Quick to the position of chief.
“The process enabled the panel and me to learn firsthand of the incredible talent pool of leaders with the East Providence Fire Department,” Mayor DaSilva added.
“Glenn Quick has decades of experience in the fire service and is well-respected amongst his brothers and sisters in the fire service and has proven his teamwork and extraordinary leadership skills,” DaSilva said.
“I would like to thank Mayor DaSilva for giving me the opportunity to lead the men and women of this great department,” Quick said. “It will be my job to promote a safe and healthy work environment for our firefighters and deliver the best services to our citizens.”
Quick, who has served as Acting Chief since September 2019 when Chief Oscar Elmasian retired, has been in fire service for more than 30 years. A recipient of the Commendation of Merit award for heroic rescues, Quick began his career as a firefighter with the East Providence Fire Department in 1987 and has risen through the ranks to assistant fire marshal, engine lieutenant, fire marshal, engine captain, battalion chief of operations, battalion chief of the hazardous materials team, battalion chief of fire department personnel and acting chief before being appointed Fire Chief.
During his time with the department, Quick established a 35-member Hazardous Materials Team and served as team leader. Quick also served as chairman of the Grants Committee, where he was able to secure $16 million in federal, state and local grants.
Quick was also responsible for overseeing code compliance for a number of businesses within the city of East Providence and served on numerous state and local specialty committees including the Hazmat and Local Emergency Planning Committee.
In addition to his duties with the EPFD, Quick currently serves as a member of the International Association of Arson Investigators (RI Chapter) and has served as a member of the International Fire Service Training Association, the Rhode Island Fire Chiefs Association, and chairman of the Union Executive Board Local 850.
Quick earned his Associate of Fire Science degree at Community College of Rhode Island. "When he isn’t at the firehouse or out at a scene, you can find Chief Quick spending time with family and friends, playing ice hockey or watching the New England Patriots," added the Mayor's office.
Mayor signs executive order creating Veterans Council
Mayor Bob DaSilva has created a newly formed board dedicated to advising and consulting the mayor on how to best maximize the city’s ability to improve the lives of East Providence veterans.
Mayor DaSilva signed Executive Order 2019-001 establishing the Mayor’s Council on Veterans Affairs on Monday, Nov. 18, 2019. It was the first executive order under Mayor DaSilva’s administration and the first executive order under the city’s first ever Mayor-Council form of government.
Members of the public, representatives from local veterans organizations, members of the East Providence City Council and members of Mayor DaSilva’s executive staff were in attendance.
“My administration saw there was great need to bring together residents who are dedicated to veterans’ affairs and others in the community who represent organizations focus on the betterment of veterans’ lives,” DaSilva said. “I look forward to working with our Veterans Council to reinforce the city’s commitment to our veterans.”
Affordable Home Lottery with Veteran Preference is Launched
Mayor Bob DaSilva, together with the city’s Community Development Office, has launched a lottery for a single-family home at below market rent that will give preference to one deserving veteran or veteran family. The city encourages both veterans and non-veterans to apply.
The newly renovated, one-bedroom home has an open-space feel and features newly installed hardwood floors, windows and lighting fixtures. The home also boasts new kitchen appliances and bathroom fixtures. The home, located at 47 Payette St., is centrally located near the high school, senior center and shops and restaurants. There is also off-street parking available.
This project is funded through the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department through their Community Development Block Grant Program.
Applications and information packets explaining the eligibility, process and deadlines are available at the following locations:
• East Providence City Hall Lobby
• East Providence Veteran’s Inc. (860 A, Suite 6 Waterman Ave.)
• East Providence Planning Department
• East Providence Clerk’s Office
• East Providence Senior Center
• Weaver Library
• Riverside Library
• City’s website: www.eastprovidence.com
• All submissions must be filed by Dec. 10, 2019 by 4 p.m.
• The lottery drawing will be held during the Dec. 17, 2019 City Council meeting.
• Keys to 47 Payette Ave. will be presented to the veteran or recipient on Dec. 23, 2019.
A video tour of the home is on the city’s website at www.eastprovidence.com and the City of East Providence – Office of the Mayor Facebook Page.
EP Police Make Arrest after Man Found with Firearm
On Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2019, Officer Brandon Normann conducted a motor vehicle stop on Walnut Street due to a moving violation. "While speaking to the operator of the vehicle, identified as Dariel O. Luna, 18, of Narragansett Ave. in Providence, Officer Normann could smell the odor of marijuana inside the vehicle. Additionally, Luna was extremely nervous and continually put his hands in his lap," said Major Christopher Francesconi of the police.
"Luna was told to exit the vehicle and a search of his person was conducted. Officer Normann felt what appeared to be a firearm concealed in Luna’s pants. The gun, a pink and black CPX-2, 9MM pistol, was removed from his pants. Also seized from Luna’s person was a plastic baggy containing suspected marijuana and a scale. During a search of the vehicle officers located, numerous small plastic baggies, elastics and a .45 shell casing," said Francesconi.
A check of the gun showed it was reported stolen in February of 2018 in Laconia, NH.
Luna was charged with:
• Possession of a Stolen Firearm
• License or Permit Required for Carrying a Pistol
• Operating on a Suspended License and Possession of Marijuana
EPHS Career & Tech School Townie Pride Cafe Open for Lunch
The High School Career Center culinary arts program has been developing its winter menu for the public. "Our kids are hard at work preparing wonderful food for all of our guests. We are open Wednesday, Thursday & Friday and will be open after Thanksgiving starting on Friday December 2nd with our all new Winter menu," said program teacher Chef Bill Walker. The Townie Pride Cafe recently partnered with the EPHS Foodservice team to provide a Halloween treat of over 600 'Townie Brownies' for the 'Day of the Dead' feast. "Special thanks to the six students from RI School for the Deaf in our program for making & delivering them. Townie Pride Never Sleeps, but it sure does eat well," chuckled Chef Walker.
New Exit Numbers for I-195 Through EP:
The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) announced last month that they will change the exit numbers on I-195 from the I-95 Interchange in Providence to the Massachusetts border in East Providence as part of its multi-year program to update highway numbering for Interstates and other limited-access highways. The new exit numbers will be keyed to mile markers - a system used throughout the country for many years
"Rhode Island and some of its neighboring New England states are among the last to change to this method of numbering its highways, as required by the Federal Highway Administration," said a RIDOT spokesperson. "The highway numbers were assigned sequentially. A mile-marker exit number system lets drivers know how far they need to travel to reach their desired off-ramp," the press release stated.
The new system of identifying exits also allows for easier expansion for future interchanges since the entire highway would not have to be renumbered to accommodate a new exit number. The renumbering project was scheduled to begin during the first week of December, 2019.
The old and new exit numbers for Route 195 East:
OLD NEW LOCATION
2 1A Gano St./India St.
4 1B Riverside/Veterans Memorial Pkwy.
4 1C Rte. 44/Taunton Ave.
5 1D Rte. 103/Warren Ave.
6 2A Broadway
7 2B Rte. 114 South/East Providence, Barrington
8 2C Rte. 6 East/To Rte. 1A and 114/ Seekonk, Mass
The old and new exit numbers for Route 195 West:
OLD NEW LOCATION
6 2 Broadway
3 1D Gano St./India Point
2 1C Rte. 44 West/South Main St.
1B 1B Eddy St.
1A 1A Point St.
Speed Reduction Camera Discussion - Public Input Sought
Council President and Ward One representative Robert Britto asked the council to discuss having a subsequent public hearing on should the city install speed cameras to curb speeding on city streets. "I've discussed this a couple of times and I would like public input at some point," Britto said at the November 19th meeting. "It's been an issue with the city for some time, at least a couple years and how some feel it (speeding) is out of control. It's not only Pawtucket avenue but from the calls I get, it's all over," said Britto. "In any event, before we vote on this at a meeting, I would like to put it out there for a public discussion. We are seeing this (speed cameras) come up in other communities. It doesn't appear to be getting better, we have a limited number of patrol officers out there to monitor this."
City solicitor Mike Marcello advised the council that speed cameras can only be put up in school zones. "They just can't be put up anywhere or on side streets. It has to be a school zone area by state law," he stressed. "I like the idea but I would want to see a traffic study. Some other communities are ticketing outside of school hours which isn't good," said councilman Mourato. "I think a study on Pawtucket avenue at Kent Heights school and other school zones will help us to see the problem, Mourato added. "I agree, I would like to get this data and have a public hearing before we make any decision," re-iterated Britto. "And I want to add that I'm on board with this from a safety perspective and not a money grab," said Mourato.
Mayor Bob DaSilva also addressed the council. "We have begun to collect data. We have some equipment that we use and the police are looking at speed signs to put in school zones. I like the direction the council is going and we can work on this," added Mayor DaSilva. "Sometimes I have to realize to slow down on Pawtucket Avenue," said Councilman Cahoon. "I know that Pawtucket has this all over and I know that if I speed there I'm going to get pulled over. I think there is a mind-set that is present. I think that if people know enforcement will take place it will make people pay attention a little more too," added Cahoon.