WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — If there is one person excited for 2021, it’s Warwick Mayor-elect Frank Picozzi who is scheduled to get sworn into office Tuesday.
Picozzi spoke with 12 News Reporter Courtney Carter in a virtual interview Thursday to discuss his plans for the upcoming year.
What has been the toughest thing for you this year?
Picozzi: “COVID has made things difficult to campaign, to have meetings. I’ve had a transition team and we had to do all of our meetings virtually. I’m not a big fan of that, I would rather have personal interaction, but it is what it is.”
Speaking of this topic, has COVID-19 affected your family at all?
Picozzi: “My son-in-law had COVID and my three grandchildren and my daughter all got it. My son-in-law was very sick. He’s a Providence firefighter, he didn’t get it from work though. They are all doing well now.”
Do you have any immediate plans for the city of Warwick?
Picozzi: “What I have to do immediately is send out the car tax bills. It hasn’t been done yet, it should’ve been done months ago, but there is a question with the general assembly. They haven’t done their budget yet, so we didn’t know what the reimbursement for the tax bills would be.”
“There are other things, DPW (Department of Public Works), we had difficulty plowing the snowstorm – sanitation. We need to straighten out a lot of departments. One of the first things we do is we have a building right behind city hall, it used to house city offices and it was destroyed by a leak several years ago and its just been sitting there because the insurance company said its not safe to use. I need to address that. We have some schools that aren’t used anymore. I want to get those properties sold because they are an asset for the city and they are just sitting there rotting away with plywood over the windows. As you can see I have a very large agenda.”
Did you know that you would win? Or were you surprised?
Picozzi: “I actually was not, I knew all along I would win, I was very confident. I’m very well known in the community, the moral in Warwick is very very low and people want change, and I offered them that change. Because of my Christmas display and other things I’ve done.”
“I’m very active on social media, that’s how I campaigned mostly, because I didn’t have the money to compete against a quarter million dollar campaign chest. There is a saying in ‘The Art of War’ that says ‘fight ’em where they ain’t’ and that’s what I did.”
What are your plans for city recreational facilities?
Picozzi: “The recreation facilities are horrid, they haven’t been kept up. I am putting together a committee and we are going to look into what we can do to improve them. Mickey Stevens is built over a former landfill. It’s a very complicated area, it was built years ago as a beautiful complex and it wasn’t taken care of over the years like it should’ve been, but the thing is it’s a landfill, it sinks and its been doing that for years and years. Land needs to be remediated. We need to do a study and a plan, I don’t want to abandon having something there, but we need a comprehensive study of what we can do there and how much it will cost.”
Do you have any plans for Warwick schools?
Picozzi: “The school department is not what it should be, and Warwick the culture and history is a contentious relationship between the school department and city government, and I am going to bridge that. Meet with the superintendent regularly, I am going to know everything that is going on in the schools. I mean they are totally autonomous I have no say in how they do it, but I can be there with them and have a mayor’s counsel on education and we will work together all year long. It won’t just be an argument at budget time, we are going to coexist. And when it comes to transparency in general, I want to involve the public, stay completely transparent.”