As trash piles up, Providence City Council asks mayor to end DPW furloughs
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — The Providence City Council is calling upon Mayor Jorge Elorza to end furloughs in the Department of Public Works, saying there’s too much trash in the city’s streets and not enough workers to remove it.
Most DPW workers and other city employees are furloughed until at least September 5th, with the possibility of being furloughed longer.
Fourteen of 15 city councilors signed a petition Wednesday night, asking the mayor to end DPW furloughs early.
“As a city, we need to function and provide services for our residents,” said city council president, Sabina Matos (Ward 15, Olneyville / Silverlake).
Bulky items like mattresses, box springs, couches and other furniture have been piling up in city streets, with no workers to haul them away. The problem has gotten worse as college students move back to the city.
DPW workers have been furloughed for months, as a way for the city to save money amid the pandemic.
The city of Providence has not yet approved it’s budget for the 2020-21 fiscal year, which started on July 1.
“We cannot be saving at the expense of quality of life,” said Matos. “Because then people are just going to move out of the city of Providence altogether.”
Matos says she has not heard back from the mayor or his team yet.
The mayor’s office says the furloughs are being used to avoid layoffs during the pandemic.