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Welcome to the Providence City Council website.

Here you will find information about the activities and initiatives of the legislative branch of Providence’s government. From Council meetings to neighborhood meetings, the members of the City Council are committed to taking action to improve the quality of life for every Providence resident.

Providence has vast cultural, artistic, and historical assets, which the Council seeks to enhance as we move forward, conducting the business of the people with integrity, transparency, and efficiency.

We encourage you to get involved in your community, and to make your voices heard by your elected officials on the Council. We are here to serve.

Sincerely,
Providence City Council



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PROVIDENCE (February 15, 2018)… Tonight, City Council Majority Whip Jo-Ann Ryan, (Ward 5) introduced an ordinance that calls for a reduction of single-use plastic bags and encourages the use of reusable checkout bags at retail establishments throughout the City. This ordinance addresses significant environmental and economic concerns facing the City and is modeled after those successfully passed in other municipalities and is most similar to the one recently passed in Boston.

 

Ryan, the lead sponsor of the ordinance said, "The production, use, and disposal of single-use plastic bags have significant adverse impacts on the environment and are a serious economic burden to the City's solid waste disposal and single-stream recycling systems.  Reducing single-use plastic bags will help to curb litter on our streets and waterways, protect the marine environment, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Ryan continued, "The economic reasons are also significant as the City will save at least $1 Million each year by removing this common contaminant to our recycling system. This initiative will also help to remove 95 million single-use bags annually from our landfill."

 

Highlights of the Ordinance Include:

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It exempts certain types of plastic bags such as dry cleaning or laundry bags, bags used to wrap or contain frozen foods or prevent or contain moisture, etc.

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It allows retailers to retain the cost of reusable bags sold to customers

(Note: large chain retailers are currently selling reusable bags for as little as .25 cents). Retailers spend over $3.9M on bags annually.)

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Countless studies, beginning with Ireland in 2002, have shown that adding a modest fee for bags reduces the use of single-use bags by more than 90%.

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It gives 12 months from passage to become compliant allowing time for education/outreach and for retailers to use existing stock.

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It provides an exemption for retailers who may have a hardship determined by the Director of the Office of Sustainability.

 

The Ordinance is the product of numerous meetings with the City's Zero Waste Group and the City's Office of Sustainability. This energetic group is working on an implementation plan and is committed to a strong grassroots education and outreach campaign for both consumers and retailers. 

 

Ryan was joined by the following councilors who cosponsored the ordinance; Council President David A. Salvatore, Majority Leader John J. Igliozzi, Senior Deputy Majority Leader Terrence Hassett, Councilman Seth Yurdin, Councilman Luis A. Aponte, Councilwoman Mary Kay Harris, Councilwoman Carmen Castillo, Councilman Bryan Principe, Councilman Michael Correia and Councilwoman Nirva LaFortune. The ordinance will now go to the Ordinance Committee to be vetted.

 

Some facts on the environmental impacts of single-use plastic bags provided by Upstream Policy:

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Single-use plastic bags are used on average for 12 minutes and live for about 1K years.

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Single-use plastic bag production produces over 2.5K metric tons of CO2 (carbon dioxide) annually and contributes to the greenhouse effect and global warming.

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Single-use plastic bags end up in the ocean, breaking down into smaller pieces called microplastics, Clean Water Action found that the Providence River had the highest concentration of these microplastics in the Bay.

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It’s estimated that over 95M plastic bags are used annually in Providence.

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Single-use plastic bags account for roughly 60 tons of garbage.

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Single-use plastic bags are NOT recyclable in our single stream RIRRC’s recycling facility.

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Single-use plastic bags are the cause of contamination of our recycling bins and compromise our recycling program.

 

 

 

PROVIDENCE, RI (February 15, 2018)…Councilman Michael Correia (Ward 6) has formally requested a meeting with members of Mayor Jorge O. Elorza’s administration to review current safety protocols and procedures in the wake of yesterday’s tragic shooting in South Florida.

As this is the 18th school shooting in the first 45 days of 2018, Councilman Correia believes that we must come together to ensure the safety of our students, teachers, and staff at every Providence school.

 

“All too often we see events like the one that happened yesterday in Parkland, Florida, and we tell ourselves that it can’t happen here,” stated Councilman Michael Correia.  “I’m guessing that the families, the administrators, and the elected officials in Parkland had thought the same thing.  I’m asking my colleagues on the City Council, Mayor Elorza, Superintendent Maher, Commissioner Pare, and Chief Clements to come together to review what we are doing in regards to school safety, look for and fill gaps, and ensure that we are doing everything possible to keep the students, teachers, and staff in our care safe.”

 

The Councilman will be asking for an increased presence of uniformed Providence Police Officers at and around our city schools, a complete review of all policies and procedures in place regarding active shooter scenarios, and increased safety training for all members of the Providence School community.

 

 

 

 

 

PROVIDENCE (February 14, 2018)…The Rhode Island Superior Court on Monday upheld an amendment to the Providence zoning ordinance that limits student housing in residential neighborhoods. In 2015, City Council Majority Whip, Jo-Ann Ryan (Ward 5), introduced an amendment to the Zoning Ordinance that placed a limit on the number of students that could live in a non-owner occupied single-family home. The amendment was passed by the Council, signed by the Mayor and later challenged in court.  The Plaintiffs who brought the suit were a landlord and several tenants who claimed the law violated their constitutional rights. The Court, in a 20-page decision, rejected the Plaintiffs’ claim that the ordinance discriminated against college students in violation of article 1, section 2 of the R.I. Constitution.

 

“I am pleased that the Superior Court upheld the City ordinance,” said Ryan.  “This ordinance is about preserving the single-family housing stock and about public safety.  Single-family homes were not intended by zoning law to be used as mini-dorms. In a city where individuals and families are finding it harder and harder to find safe and affordable homes, it is imperative that we as elected officials work to preserve our housing stock and to protect the residential character of our neighborhoods.”

 

The ordinance states that in R-1 and R-1A zones, a single-family dwelling, which is not owner-occupied, may not be occupied by more than three college students. A college student is defined as an individual enrolled as an undergraduate or graduate student at any university or college who commutes to campus.

 

Ryan introduced the legislation in response to concerns from residents in the Elmhurst and Mount Pleasant neighborhoods she represents, who were frustrated that single-family homes were being purchased by investors and rented to numerous college students. Ryan, whose ward borders the Providence College campus, said “off-campus student housing creates a host of challenges for residents in our City’s neighborhoods. Moreover, the Court held that limiting population density, congestion, noise, and traffic are all valid governmental concerns. This ordinance will help to ensure that our neighborhoods remain safe and will preserve the quality of life for all residents.”

 

Please find the full court ruling attached below:

 

COUNCILWOMAN JO-ANN RYAN DEDICATES WARD 5 REC CENTER

 

Providence, RI (January 20, 2018)… Providence City Council Majority Whip Jo-Ann Ryan, (Ward 5) hosted a ceremony on Saturday to name the Providence Ward 5 recreation center after long-time community volunteer, coach, and public servant Armand E. Batastini Jr. Councilwoman Ryan was joined by 100’s of Batastini’s former players, colleagues, friends, and elected officials to help honor this amazing son of Providence.

 

“I’m humbled to honor Armand E. Batastini Jr. with this much-deserved recognition,” stated City Council Majority Whip Jo-Ann Ryan. “Armand has been a force for good in the state of Rhode Island and the city of Providence for decades - not just from his 60-years of coaching young people in basketball or from being the founder of the Elmhurst Little League, but as a public servant as well.  He serves as an inspiration to me and countless others in our pursuit to serve the people of Providence and the great state of Rhode Island.  It’s for these reasons that I’m grateful to be able to ensure that his legacy will live on with the naming of the Armand E. Batastini Jr. Recreation Center for the decades to come. Congratulations Coach!”

 

Today’s dedication included remarks from the very Reverend Kenneth R. Letoile, O.P. Dominican Provincial, Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea, General Treasurer Seth Magaziner, Rhode Island Senate President Dominick Ruggerio, Mayor Jorge Elorza, City Council President David Salvatore, City Council Majority Whip Jo-Ann Ryan, Providence Police Chief, Colonel Hugh Clements, and Batastini’s daughter Christina.  In addition, Senator Jack Reed, Congressman Jim Langevin, and Governor Gina Raimondo all sent well wishes recognizing Batastini for his lifelong commitment to the youth of Providence. 

 

Batastini is a lifelong resident of Rhode Island and has been an active member in the Ward 5 community for many years.  He served as the Rhode Island State Representative for District 8, which included the Elmhurst and Mt. Pleasant neighborhoods of Providence, from 1977 to 1992, working as the Chairperson of the Joint Committee on Accounts and Claims and the Vice-Chairperson on the Health, Education and Welfare Committee. In addition to his nearly 20-years in public office, he spent 36 years in the Providence School Department as a student support specialist. Over his long and illustrious career, he has been very involved in youth sports, founding and acting as a board member for the Elmhurst Little League and coaching St. Pius CYO basketball teams for over 60 years. Known as “Coach” to many, he currently serves as Chairman of the 5th Ward Democratic Committee and Vice Chair of the Democratic City Committee.

 

Armand E. Batastini Jr. and his wife Mary are the proud parents of four children and five grandchildren. He is a Navy veteran, a graduate of Providence College and holds a Master's Degree from Boston University in Physical Education.