NORTH PROVIDENCE – Mayor Charles Lombardi says his top goal in 2022 is for town residents to stay safe and healthy.

After a successful vaccine clinic on Dec. 28 at North Providence High School, where some 400 people received Moderna and Pfizer vaccines and boosters, Lombardi said he’d like to continue running similar events through the early part of 2022, establishing vaccine clinics weekly and COVID testing daily at a specific site.

Even if it has to happen at the old safety building on Mineral Spring Avenue, Lombardi said he thinks it’s important to find a way to keep this effort going to get through this crisis and keep the town as healthy as possible, so people can continue on with their lives.

Lombardi, who is a longtime ally of Gov. Dan McKee, said the goal to establish the site is a response to people wanting it and needing it. He stopped short of laying the blame for testing delays on the state level at the feet of state leaders, saying the state is waiting on a shipload of testing kits to deliver to communities.

“Would I like to see it done a little quicker? Absolutely,” he said, which he said is why he’s talking with Fire Chief John Silva about how they can accomplish something on that front.

The mayor, detailing some of his other substantial target points in the year ahead, said some of the top jobs of a mayor are to make sure the town has the best possible services and “continues to be pro-business, because that helps the town’s economy.”

Asked if he expects any kind of tax increase this year, given the substantial influx of federal stimulus dollars and the various sources of revenue that are coming online, including selling off properties, Lombardi said he has no expectation of an increase, continuing a trend from the past few years. The mayor said he doesn’t currently see a lot of chance to move too far down the list of the state’s most-taxed communities, as he stated in a 2016 campaign goal, unless the town actually decreases taxes, which he doesn’t see happening. The town continues to see homes sold at the second-fastest rate in the state, he said.

The redevelopment of the old safety complex, construction of a new animal shelter, and improvement of the town’s newly acquired recreation spaces, including Coletti Farm and Pate Farm, are all top priorities in the year ahead, said Lombardi, as is the creation of the first full-blown handicapped-accessible playground in the area at Josephine and June Streets in Marieville.

Playground equipment is due to be delivered this week, he said, and the town is waiting to hear good news on the flexibility it is seeking on spending federal stimulus funds on the recreation upgrades.

Also in 2022, the mayor said he plans to continue working with the Rhode Island Department of Transportation to remodel the Centredale traffic pattern, including a change that would allow drivers to turn left on the Centredale bypass off Mineral Spring Avenue and straight down to the roundabout at Smith Street and Woonasquatucket Avenue. State officials haven’t shown much opposition to the idea, he said, and the town will soon be sending some drawings to the state to better explain the plans.

North Providence’s biggest obstacle continues to be its lack of space all over town brought on by 40 to 50 years of bad planning, said Lombardi, and his theme again this year will be to “try to make it work with what we have.”

(1) comment

FormerBreezeFan

"no expectation of an increase, continuing a trend from the past few years"

Building budgets on one time money is a recipe for failure in the future. Big tax increases coming in future years, just to maintain current levels of spending

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