VIDEO: Leaders sworn in; Lombardi pledges no tax increase

VIDEO: Leaders sworn in; Lombardi pledges no tax increase

As his wife, Carol, holds a bible, North Providence Mayor Charles Lombardi is administered the oath of office by the Honorable Francis X. Flaherty, justice, Rhode Island Supreme Court. The 2017 North Providence inauguration ceremony was held at North Providence High School on Sunday. (Breeze photos by Charles Lawrence)
Autiello re-elected council president

NORTH PROVIDENCE – Mayor Charles Lombardi used the platform of his fourth inauguration address on Sunday to announce that the town will go another year without a tax increase in 2017.

“Our taxpayers have not had a tax increase in the last two years, and we will not have one next year,” he said.

Lombardi thanked all those who put their trust in him “to continue the progress we’ve achieved the last nine years,” and he pledged to “work hard, smart, and fiscally responsible for all our town residents.”

Watch the entire inauguration.



Lombardi’s announcement of no tax increase came during a ceremony that saw officials hail North Providence’s resurgence under the mayor who first took over in 2007. Numerous officials, including Providence Municipal Court Judge Frank Caprio, Gov. Gina Raimondo, U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, and Congressman David Cicilline, commended Lombardi and town officials for the work they’ve done turning North Providence around. The inauguration ceremony was postponed to Sunday, due to Saturday’s snow.

Lombardi gave special thanks to his wife, Carol, and Chief of Staff G. Richard Fossa, his “best friend” who served as emcee for the event. He said he couldn’t do what he does without Fossa’s help.

Others sworn in Sunday included new Councilors Kenneth Amoriggi and Steven DiLorenzo, veteran council member Mansuet Giusti, and returning School Committee members Gina Picard, Roderick Da Silva, and Steven Andreozzi.

Town Council President Dino Autiello, who was re-elected Sunday as president of the council, said he feels privileged to lead “a talented and diverse” council during an “exciting time” in North Providence.

School Committee Chairman Anthony Marciano was re-elected to the post on Sunday.

Lombardi said he was confident upon taking office that his plans for North Providence would “improve quality of life for all residents.” He said he had goals of prioritizing all spending and make decisions based on the needs of all citizens, “not just the wants of a chosen few.” All decisions are being made not just for today but for the next generations, he emphasized.

Lombardi said he came to North Providence government with a “business and common sense attitude.” Success demanded “the departure of the status quo, and we knew weeding out the status quo would take courage,” he said.

North Providence was one step above junk bond status and borrowing $10.5 million a year for cash flow when he became mayor, said Lombardi.

“We were insolvent,” he said, and the financial community was advising him to consider bankruptcy.

“Not on my watch,” he said.

The “tough decisions” he made after becoming mayor included raising taxes, closing a fire station and halting parades on the Fourth of July and Memorial Day, said Lombardi.

Today, after four bond rating increases, the town has its first “A” bond rating in 24 years, six straight surpluses, and a $7 million surplus fund achieved six years earlier than required, he noted.

Flat taxes and other achievements could not happen without the help of town employees, said Lombardi. He thanked them for “their hard work and dedication.”

North Providence today has the only Class 1 fire station in Rhode Island, a police department helping to achieve a “consistently declining crime rate,” the second highest-funded police pension in the state, and a school department that achieved a 98 percent graduation rate in 2016, said Lombardi.

Camp Meehan, the town’s “crown jewel” park once destined for 48 homes, is one of his biggest achievements, said Lombardi. The town also has a signed contract for a new solar farm, he said, another sign of how far the town has come.

Other initiatives to come include continuing a repaving program, saving money by purchasing town streetlights, building a new public safety complex, constructing and upgrading local schools, and building a new animal control facility, said Lombardi.

“Make no mistake, this all could not have been accomplished without the cooperation of our Town Council and School Committee,” he said.

North Providence turned a corner in 2016, said Autiello.

“Through collaboration, transparency and a commitment to open, honest government, we have accomplished more in the past two years than we could have ever imagined.”

Autiello said the achievements he’s most proud of during his tenure are:

• Achieving two straight budgets without a tax increase.

• Paying off the town’s $10 million deficit reduction bond two years early.

• Achieving a high school graduation rate of 98 percent.

• Making great improvements to parks and recreation facilities, especially at Camp Meehan.

• And working toward a fully funded police pension plan, a new public safety complex, and new municipal animal shelter, all utilizing funds from a 2012 settlement with Google.

• Seeing an $18 million mill redevelopment project move forward on Woonasquatucket Avenue.

• And approving a new solar project, among others.

“I am ready and excited to keep the ball rolling with the many new ideas that I have, and will continue to put forth, in order to challenge myself and our administration to be the best it can be for the taxpayers,” he said.

Two years ago, he made a pledge to focus on economic development, said Autiello, and today, the town is moving forward on that front.

Noah Bond, a North Providence High School graduate and former Youth Commission member, noted how the commission created by Lombardi has helped the town flourish and commission members succeed. The commission “has been vital in making so many of their dreams come true,” he said.


Without the “endless opportunities” afforded by the commission to be involved in local government, said Bond, he doesn’t know where he would be today. 


Others involved in Sunday’s ceremony included the Rev. Joseph Pescatello, of Mary, Mother of Mankind Church, giving the invocation and benediction, Board of Canvassers Executive Director Laurence Flynn presenting certificates of election, Rhode Island Supreme Court Justice Francis Flaherty administering the oath of office to Lombardi, Marissa Beatini singing the national anthem, Lexi Grace Lanni singing “God Bless America,” the North Providence High School Concert Band playing the processional, Supt. Melinda Smith, Town Clerk Maryann DeAngelus, and the North Providence Police and Fire Color Guards.

Mayor Charles Lombardi administers the oath of office to North Providence Town Council members, from left, Kenneth Amoriggi, Mansuet Giusti and Steven DiLorenzo. The 2017 North Providence inauguration ceremony was held at North Providence High School on Sunday.

Comments

Exactly when is the next DECREASE coming Charlie? You're WAY overdue. You've got a town of pissed off residents whose property is STILL worth less today than it was 12 years ago, yet the taxes are more.

NP is rated 37th out of 39 communities for financial weakness, that rating takes in all debt, assets, liabilities and contracts. No tax increase this year is just living off the taxes that were being used for the $10.5 million bond that was paid off two years ago and the taxes were never adjusted to return tax credits back to taxpayers. As far as the Mayor's TC goes, its all his TC.

They should have saved money and held the ceremony in a phone booth !

I can't understand why anyone would complain about the taxes. With all of the overdue improvements this town needs, how on earth can you expect the taxes to be lowered? The fact that the taxes have stabilized is something we can be grateful for. Additionally, the status of the town that was highlighted in other comments, that is not a status that was created under Lombardi's leadership. He is digging us out of a hole that was dug far before he came into leadership. The guy won office because we voted for him. He earned it and he knows that he earned it not because he does things for votes but he does things for our town. If he was trying to win a popularity contest, we all know how that would go based on your comments alone! Give him a chance, he has done great things and continues to. The petty opinions of internet trolls matter little when it comes to the rubber meeting the road. Keep up the good work Mayor!

The reason we, the taxpayers are complaining is that he did not need to overtax us in the first place. The mayor is the one who incurred the deficit, not the prior administration and documents were provided to substantiate this statement. Additionally, when a town is not maintained on a regular basis, which North Providence has not during Mayor's Lombardi's tenure, the cost of catch-up will be more than it would have been had it been kept up with in a timely manner. And lastly, "give home a chance"???? He's had almost a decade!!!!!

What documents are you referring to that prove the town was not in a deficit before Lombardi took office? The finances of the town were a disaster when he took office! The prior administration used some "clever" accounting that was deemed to be misleading when the town was audited by the State. So, please provide said copies of these miracle documents you are referring to.

because he is lying.

Why are we complaining about our taxes?
Well let’s see, they go up almost every year. When they don’t go up, they stay level, and we’re supposed to celebrate that. At what point will they ever go down?
Our taxes routinely go up, however the services that we get back from the town do not increase with the tax increases. The values of our properties are still less now than they were 12 years ago. Most towns in the state and nationwide have recovered. Not NP. We’re still waiting for this town to become “a better place to live”. I was once honored to call NP my home. I’ve lived here for 53 years. Over the last several years, I’ve been embarrassed to tell people I’m from NP.
When will this town ever attract a business of any kind, that will draw in people from other towns. Most other towns have at least that one thing. NP, not so much.
Why are we complaining? Because we’re tired of the downward spiral, that’s why.

you move over the summer??