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BLOG: New Trash Pick-Ups, Finance Director Discussed at City Council

During Tuesday night's city council meeting, members discussed the status of TLA/Pond View's court proceedings, proposed one-way streets, middle school sports and the city's new finance director.

7:32 p.m. - Mayor Bruce Rogers dedicated the meeting to the a member of the city's beautification committee who recently passed away. 

7:35 p.m. - James Briden said residents have taken photos at TLA/Pond View within the past week. Conditions full of trash, and hazardous materials have persisted since May, he said, adding court mandated enforcement action is needed. He said the city's memorandum is critical to this issue. He hopes the city receives input from attorneys who have recognized expertise in the area of zoning.

7:45 p.m. - Corliss Blanchard provided photos of TLA/Pond View to city council members depicting piles of trash riddled with asbestos. She said the council should not fight the zoning board's decision. 

7:49 p.m. - Another resident said the mayor has failed the public by not advocating that trash at the site should be removed. 

7:53 p.m. - June Coan said the budget commission received erroneous information regarding the cost of middle school sports. Furthermore, other communities' ability to privately fund middle school sports is not a reason to cut East Providence progams, she said.

7:57 p.m. - The middle school girls softball team is recognized for their recent championship. The audience gave a standing ovation.

8:00 p.m. - Council members approved a request to hold a block party on the corner of Wingate and Leroy drives to be held on Saturday, Sept. 8. 

8:02 p.m. - Council members appointed residents to traffic control. 

8:05 p.m. - Members approved a motion to make Joe Gibson the new East Providence tree warden. 

8:06 p.m. - Shawn Heston, of Persey's Place located at 140 Newport Ave., was awarded a victualling license to serve food.

Susan Sampson, of Yester-Days News, located on 5 Forbes Street, was awarded a secondhand license.

Councilors approved a liquor license transfer from Vine Yard East to PRPS, Inc.

8:21 p.m. - Councilors approved a request to transfer a victualling license from Vic's Sub Shop to Ricotti's Sandwich Shop.

Requests to transfer further licenses from Vine Yard East to PRPS, Inc. was approved. 

8:28 p.m. - Councilors debate a resolution that would make part of Oakley Street from South Sharon Street to Broadway a one-way. Police Chief Joseph Tavares said he supports the resolution, noting rescue vehicles can use the road.

8:42 p.m. - Leo Furtado said businesses will be impacted by the change in Oakley Street traffic patterns. The mayor said the change would only help the economic situation for businesses.

9:00 p.m. - Furtado says a detailed study negates the police chief's argument that a one-way will be safe for rescue vehicles. At about 9:30 p.m., councilors voted to defer the decision in a 3-2 vote.

Additional meeting notes:

  • In addition to other council business, the city manager announced that East Providence has a new finance director that will oversee the municipal and school department. Malcolm Moore, finance director and interim town manager of West Warwick, will start in the upcoming weeks. He has about 12 years of experience in the field.
  • East Providence is also expected to switch to bi-weekly pick up using the services of a new vendor. If the bid is awarded, residents will be supplied with lidded trash bins. According to the city manager, the change is expected to save the city $1.6 million over five years. 
  • School committee member Chrissy Rossi said new interim superintendent doesn't yet have full grasp on school department business but will soon enough as school staff is helping him adjust to the recent transition after Edward Daft for a Barrington job.
Benfica12 August 21, 2012 at 11:55 PM
Live blog? Nothing has happened from 7:35pm to 7:55pm? Given some of the members of the council; there must be some comedy to be shared??
Benfica12 August 21, 2012 at 11:56 PM
Just came through! I do appreciate the live blog since they took down recording online. Thanks!
Abigail Crocker (Editor) August 22, 2012 at 12:39 AM
Thanks - in order to get my latest updates, refresh the page!
Kevin Oliver August 22, 2012 at 01:16 AM
Abigail ... Ask them if any headway has been made on Middle School Sports.
Ron C August 22, 2012 at 01:21 AM
Dear Council candidate, If you want my vote make sure when you knock on the door you know exactly how much it costs to put the council meetings back online and digital storage and where your going to get the money. If you are in office now and voted to remove the online video...don't bother knocking on my door.
Paul August 22, 2012 at 11:28 AM
Excellent point. The City Clerk noted several weeks ago that they were in the process of looking at ways to get the Council Meeting video back on line. We have been in 'radio silence' for four months now. We understand that the Clerk is not in a position to make the decision, however, the Council, Budget Commission and City Manager are. It is hard to conceive of a better way to spend a few dollars than to spend them to keep the taxpayers informed. Ms. Crocker, please request a status update from our elected officials and/or the City Clerk. Thank You
Chris Z. August 22, 2012 at 01:32 PM
Bi-weekly trash pickup????? My family fills 3 barrels every week.... I hope this gets voted against.
JC August 22, 2012 at 02:08 PM
Trash is getting picked up weekly. Recycling will be bi-weekly, provided the contract goes through.
JC August 22, 2012 at 02:09 PM
Ron, none of our politicians voted for the removal of video streaming online. It was the budget commission that took it away for cost savings.
zwilson1958 August 22, 2012 at 04:15 PM
Aren't there 2 Technology Department Heads making over 100K each? Perhaps one of them can show up to the Council Meeting and video tape it. Would it really take that much editing to post it on YouTube for free? It's not exactly modern technology in 2012.
Candy Seel August 22, 2012 at 06:07 PM
My understanding is that the cost to videotape Council and School Committee meetings is approximately $3,000 per year. I can't tell you (especially Ron C) exactly where I'd find the money, but it's not a lot relative to the overall budget. As for posting it on YouTube, I have been told that that was tried, that it took about 5 hours to upload, and about 5 seconds for YouTube to take it down.
zwilson1958 August 22, 2012 at 06:33 PM
Whoever told you that it would take five hours to upload is lying to you and there are plenty of sites that would be happy to post the videos for free. It sounds like the two technology directors are too busy trying to figure out who is the technology director. Maybe one should step up and provide a service to the public that is actually useful. Isn't that what IT staff is supposed to do? Over $200K should be able to figure that out.
b1 August 22, 2012 at 07:52 PM
Does anyone really think that the majority of this council wants the public to stay informed? Good one! They figure, the less we know the more they get! VOTE, VOTE, VOTE!!!!!
Candy Seel August 22, 2012 at 08:00 PM
Hello, zwilson1958--It could well be that the person was lying to me or was misinformed by someone else. I'm not as familiar with uploading a 4-hour or so video as you seem to be. I'm really curious which sites would be happy to post such a lengthy video for free. It would be a great public service if you could let us know. Thanks.
Ron C August 22, 2012 at 11:40 PM
The reporting here is getting weaker and weaker. To me, at least, one of the big issues of this meeting was where do we stand on middle school sports?
Abigail Crocker (Editor) August 22, 2012 at 11:49 PM
Hi Ron - I am writing a separate story on the issue which is why it's not included in the blog.
zwilson1958 August 23, 2012 at 12:17 AM
I'm not in the business of providing public services. I am here to get the most out of my hard earned tax dollar. There are two well paid IT department directors (over $200K) who have the ability to do a google search and find one of the many free or cheap (ad driven) video services available. It's not the video hosting that is the issue. It is the unwillingness of the IT department to do the work that is necessary to provide this service that is expected in 2012. They aren't willing to video tape the meetings themselves. They blame the budget commission for not paying the company that took the video. If that is the case, then it is the responsibility of the IT dept. to do it themselves. IT IS NOT EXPENSIVE. IT JUST TAKES TIME AND EFFORT. At over $200K for two directors, we should be provided this service that we have come to use, appreciate, and depend upon.
Ron C August 23, 2012 at 01:06 AM
Ohh!! I see Abigail, its the old media 'tease'. Can't wait to read the story. To zwilson, I agree we need to stop blaming the budget commission. In this case the removal of the online service was proposed by the City Clerk in order to reach the budget reduction the BC was asking for. It was an easy $3000 to dump and less work for that department. Regardless of salary, I don't see why it would fall to the IT department to pick up the slack when its the City Clerks office that reduced this service. That's just transferring the cost to another department. I sat in on two budget commission meetings and I can attest that the BC doesn't go for that in any way. Put the blame where it belongs...with the department that CHOOSE to drop the service.
zwilson1958 August 23, 2012 at 12:18 PM
If the police department doesn't follow up on a crime, I don't blame the city manager. It is the responsibility of a police department. If my trash isn't picked up, I don't blame my council member. It is the responsibility of public works. Therefore, if a technology service doesn't function (and there is no question about whether or not this is a technology issue), I blame the IT department. Everyone at city hall points the finger at someone else and that person points her finger at the budget commission. Get real.
Bruce Zarembka August 23, 2012 at 04:02 PM
In reality it is not a technology issue...it is a public information function, for which the city clerks office is responsible for. As b1 stated above the majority of this city council do not want the public to be informed, as it would show how little they truly accomplish. The city clerk is an appointee of the city council...follow the pieces of the puzzle.
zwilson1958 August 23, 2012 at 04:14 PM
Go to any municipal website in the country and you will see that broadcast of meetings falls under IT because it is now such a common and ordinary function of government. If the city website goes down, is it the city clerk's responsibility too? My point is that they consolidated IT, raised the salary of one director, kept the salary of the other director, and reduced services related to technology. If the public is made aware of this fact (hence the purpose for these posts), then perhaps the politicians will do something about (like have one of the IT directors find a way to post the videos). Otherwise, there will be 1000 excuses related to $ and it is not a $ issue. The city council doesn't want evidence of their idiocy and the IT directors don't want the work. If we don't cal them on it, then they will take the path of least resistance. That is to blame the budget commission. IT IS A SERVICE THAT IS REQUIRED BY CITIZENS IN 2012!
Arthur Dolloff August 24, 2012 at 03:55 PM
Does the school dept. not offer courses in Audio/Video any more, seems a perfect class asignment that would build comunity spirit and serve as a very valuable class lesson.
Arthur Dolloff August 24, 2012 at 03:58 PM
You got that right Bruce, keep America stupid seems to be the political battle cry in too many parts of the country. Add to that keeping people from voting and you have the reasons that the revolutionary war was fought.
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