The town has the distinction of being the smallest by area (5.8 square miles) in the smallest state (1,214 square miles). Though at only , the city of Central Falls is Rhode Island's smallest municipality. Warren holds the title for smallest town (8.6 square miles) in the smallest county (45 square miles) of the smallest state. Despite its small footprint, North Providence has the eighth-highest population of Rhode Island's 39 cities and towns, and the second-highest of the state's towns after Coventry, Rhode Island's largest municipality by land area.
North Providence elected its first mayor in 1974. Since then, the town has been governed by a mayor and seven-member town council.
The town has had four elected mayors:
From 1974 - 1994: Salvatore Mancini
From 1994 - 1996: G. Richard Fossa
From 1996 - 2007: A. Ralph Mollis
From 2007–present: Charles Lombardi
Tax Collector: Claudette Mooney
The Centredale Manor Restoration Project Superfund Site
From at least 1921-1971, the Centredale Manor area of North Providence was contaminated by textile, chemical, and drum recycling industries that discarded toxic liquids and wastes into the surrounding soil and river (EPA 1999). In 2000, the United States Environmental Protection Agency declared a area including parts of Centredale Manor and Brook Village, both affordable housing units for senior citizens, a superfund site. The agency documented high levels of toxic chemicals like dioxin, VOCs, and PCBs in fish as well as soil from the area. Because of this the area has been fenced off from the community with warning signs against eating contaminated fish, and is undergoing evaluation for clean-up.
Town Council Arrests
On May 4, 2010, three members of the North Providence Town Council were arrested by the FBI and charged in Federal Court with taking a $25,000 bribe so that a developer could build a supermarket in their town.