Jorge Elorza

The political season keeps zipping along, with the calendar turning toward May. So thanks for stopping by for my weekly column. As usual, you can share your tips and comments, and follow me through the week on the twitters. Here we go.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza used his annual budget address Wednesday to call for more sacrifices that he calls necessary to prevent Rhode Island's capital city from sinking into a worsening financial cycle.

The most immediate hit will come for Providence residents since Elorza proposes a $13 million hike in the city's tax levy.

Ian Donnis

The city of Providence is projected to face a 37 million-dollar budget gap in 10 years if it doesn’t turn around its current budget problems. That’s according to a new report that analyzes the city’s finances. The report outlines the source of the city’s money problems, but it also offers ideas for how to reduce expenses and increase revenue.

Mayor Jorge Elorza says in the coming weeks and months, he’ll meet with different key stakeholders to discuss a series of short- and long-term solutions.

RIPR FILE

Providence’s precarious finances are once again the top topic at City Hall. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says capital homeowners should be prepared for a tax increase this year.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

  Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza is banning city-financed travel to North Carolina and Mississippi after those states approved laws limiting access to public services and protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

``The city of Providence is committed to fostering an inclusive environment for everyone who lives, travels, and works here,’’ said Elorza, in a statement. ``We stand in solidarity with residents in North Carolina and Mississippi who are being denied the same rights and protections that anyone should expect.’’

John Bender / RIPR

Mayors and law enforcement leaders from Rhode Island and Massachusetts gathered in Providence Wednesday for a summit on reducing gun violence. Boston and Providence are taking part in a new effort to combat gun violence.

The new program brings several cities, including the two state capitals, together with non-profit Arms with Ethics, to pilot programs aimed at reducing gun violence.

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza says working regionally cities, and towns will be better able to crack down on illegal gun trade. 

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

The Providence Public Schools have named a new superintendent. Chris Maher will lead the state capital’s school system, after serving as interim superintendent since last summer.

Maher took the helm following the abrupt departure of former city schools Superintendent Susan Lusi. The Providence School Board announced Monday it has voted unanimously to enter contract negotiations with Maher, to take on the position permanently.

RIPR FILE

Residents in the city of Providence can now use a mobile app to get in touch with city staff for problems in the city. Providence residents can call 3-1-1 or, use the new mobile app to connect with the Mayor’s center for city services.

City spokesperson Evan England says citizens can use the app to lodge a complaint, request a service, or make an inquiry.

  “Whether that’s plowing, trash collection, inquiries about pickup dates, parking, we encourage residents to try 3-1-1 first,” said England.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Providence will be one of a handful of cities to pilot a new online tool to help monitor public health. It’s a project of the federal National Resources Network and private researchers.

John Bender / RIPR

A program designed to combat foreclosed, blighted properties in Providence is drawing the ire of some local residents. 

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Last night in his first State of the City address, Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza painted a positive outlook for the city, despite a cumulative deficit of more than $13 million and a long legal battle with the city’s firefighters.

Providence City Councilman Sam Zurier joins Bonus Q&A this week to discuss taxes and tax breaks; how Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza has handled the firefighter dispute, and other issues. 

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Providence City Councilman Sam Zurier joins Political Roundtable this week to discuss the passing of Buddy Cianci and the fiscal outlooks of the City of Providence and Rhode Island.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

Rhode Island’s legendary rascal king, Buddy Cianci, died Thursday morning.

Cianci was hospitalized with stomach pain while taping ABC6 On the Record, a TV show, Wednesday night.

He died at age 74 at about 8:30 Thursday morning, according to a former aide, Artin Coloian.

RIPR FILE

  Advocates for the homeless say Providence Police unfairly target the homeless residents in downtown Providence. In a recent survey of 100 people milling around Kennedy Plaza in the heart of downtown Providence, about half were homeless or had experienced homelessness.

A survey of 100 people in Kennedy plaza found that roughly 95 percent of those who had experienced homelessness had also been ticketed or arrested by police.

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