Decision to liquidate fire district could come soon - News, Weather and Classifieds for Southern New England

Money Watchers: Decision to liquidate fire district could come soon

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COVENTRY, R.I. -

A decision to liquidate the Central Coventry Fire District could come as early as Friday after voters overwhelmingly rejected a budget for the district on Tuesday night.

More than 1,800 voters turned out to decide the fate of the district which has been in court receivership for the past six months. Voters were faced with a decision to pay 36 percent more in fire taxes or disband the district.

The final vote was 1,357 against the new budget; 484 voted in favor.

"I feel the people have spoken" said Richard Land, the court-appointed special master for the fire district. "Very anecdotally, I heard people saying they're tired of the over spending, tired of being taxed."

However, questions about safety remain. And while there is a contingency plan in place as organized by other fire chiefs, the plan has not yet been released. The district employs more than 40 firefighters.

"I'm concerned frankly that someone may not get the kind of coverage they need in that emergency situation," Land said.

The district has more than $2.2 million of unpaid bills, which include debt related to a ladder truck.

Land said the debt could grow dramatically because of breach of contract claims and other accrued liabilities.

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