Metro

Providence ballot measures include street improvements

By
Senior Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 6, 2012

 

Questions 9-18 of the supplementary, local ballot measures in Providence address matters proposed by the Home Charter Review Commission, a committee established and renewed every 10 years to suggest revisions to the City Charter, the document that dictates city operation and administration. 

Question 8 will determine whether up to $40 million will be allocated to the city for improvements to streets and sidewalks in the city, with specific attention toward drainage, traffic control devices, safety improvements and landscaping. 

Supporters believe a renovation of the city’s infrastructure is long overdue. They argue that this allocation represents an investment that will see returns in the future, specifically in areas like tourism revenue. 

Some have suggested that Providence cannot afford this investment, as it is still reeling from the major budgetary concerns it faced earlier this year that prompted Mayor Angel Taveras to announce the city was on the brink of bankruptcy. While Taveras has considerably curtailed the budget deficit, the city is currently operating on a very tight annual budget.

Question 9 serves to verify the definition of various terms utilized in the revisions to the City Charter – including “city,” “council,” “domiciled,” “mayor” and “quorum.” 

Question 10 asks voters to verify that the charter review commission should be appointed every 10 years, as it has been in the past.

Question 11 will determine whether city electors have the power to approve amendments.

Question 12 asks voters to approve the name change of the city’s “personnel department” to the “human resources department.”

Question 13 then asks voters to determine whether human resources should be responsible for the management of city employees, including hiring, suspending and terminating policies.

In Question 14, voters are asked to revoke certain responsibilities from the human resources department, including payroll tasks and the monitoring residency requirements for employment.

Voters are then asked in Question 15 to approve the requirements for the position of “director of the department of public property,” which would include a bachelor’s degree or five years of experience in the field.

Question 16 will determine whether the Providence Emergency Management Agency and Homeland Protection Department should be shifted into the Department of Public Safety and into the management of the Commissioner of Public Safety.

Question 17 asks voters to determine whether the City Charter should include a rule prohibiting city officials from using their positions to unfairly retain employment for relatives or acquaintances.

Question 18 will determine the creation of a committee on ward boundaries that would be elected by the city council every ten years and charged with the responsibility of revising ward boundary lines. The committee would also be responsible for holding public forums where residents can discuss possible changes with each other and the committee. Any revisions the committee suggested would be subject to approval by the City Council.