Providence, RI – At tonight’s Providence City Council meeting, councilors overwhelmingly approved $124 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds that will directly impact city residents and build long-term investments in Providence’s neighborhoods. The allocated funding includes substantial investments in housing, parks and recreation centers, tourism, travel, hospitality, water/sewer infrastructure improvements, and economic relief for small businesses and many organizations negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. “Taxpayers should know these dollars will be tracked and accounted for by an independent auditor. This was a necessary checks and balances mechanism. My colleagues and I demanded accountability,” said Council President John Igliozzi. The accounting firm of Clifton Larsen Allen LLP will serve as the independent auditor. “I am proud of the hard work and collaborative efforts of the City Council and administration,” said Finance Chairwoman Jo-Ann Ryan. “In the wake of the devastating COVID-19 pandemic, this is the long-awaited relief and investment in our recovery that the people of Providence need and deserve.”
ARPA Ordinance Summary
Investment in Housing
Investment in Water, Sewer, Broadband and Infrastructure
Investments in Community and Social Disparities
Speeding the Recover of the Tourism, Travel & Hospitality Sectors
Administration expenditures/audit ($300,000)
Total = $123,769,438
The ARPA ordinance covers a period of January 6, 2022, through December 31, 2024. A detailed copy of the ordinance can be found here.
Community Development Block Grant Funding (CDBG)
For the first time, Councilors passed the $5.5 million community development block grant budget (CDBG), federal funding that will immediately help make improvements and additions to city neighborhoods. CDBG funding includes financial support to community centers and provides grants for economic development and public service programs across the city. Many public service grants help with unemployment, homelessness, public health, clothing insecurity, music education, and domestic violence resources/emergency housing. Some beneficiaries include established providers like Amos House, Clinica Esperanza/Hope Clinic, and the Rhode Island Free Clinic. The CDBG budget was vetted by the Committee on Urban Redevelopment, Renewal, and Planning and chaired by Councilwoman Mary Kay Harris (Ward 11). The budget will require a second vote for passage. A breakdown of the CDBG funds can be found here: CDGB 2022-2023
Right to an Adequate Education
Councilors also passed a resolution requesting the House Committee on State Government and Elections and the Rhode Island House of Representatives pass Senate Bill S-2095 and its House companion. The legislation would place a referendum before voters to make education a fundamental right in the State of Rhode Island. Councilwoman and Finance Chair Jo-Ann Ryan (Ward 5) sponsored the resolution, co-sponsored by the Council.