Future of Financially Troubled RI Fire Department Unclear - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

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Future of Financially Troubled RI Fire Department Unclear

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by ABC6 Chief Political Reporter Mark Curtis 

mcurtis@abc6.com

It was a boisterous and close Central Coventry Fire District budget vote on Monday night.

Tuesday morning reality set in. Forty-three  firefighters may have to go.

Fire Chief Andrew Baynes said, "Worst case scenario, they are all terminated, laid off. They all go on the unemployment rolls."

Many citizens raised questions about a nearly 50 percent tax increase for fire protection

John Assalone voted "no" saying the Fire Board mismanaged district finances.

"That same disingenuous Board is still there. And my position has been and I think a lot of people – as long as that Board is there, not one dime in new taxes," said Assalone.

Accountant Conrad Burns voted "yes" on the fire budget, and is not ready to give up.

"If taxpayers don't want to give it to us, they have spoken. Where do we go for it? There's no pie in the sky," said Burns."

ABC6 Chief Political Reporter Mark Curtis said, "The politics of all this aside, there are some serious questions. If other fire departments have to send fire trucks and rescue squads to cover Central Coventry, will that affect response time and public safety?"

Crews might have to be called from Hopkins Hill and Coventry-Anthony.

Fire Chief Andrew Baynes said, "If you pull out a key stone like this – in this puzzle, the jigsaw puzzle that we work with every day, it's going to have catastrophic effects."

Businessman John Assalone disagreed saying, "That was not true last night. That's not true today, There's full service."

A Superior Court Judge will review the case on Thursday, so nothing is final.

 

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