Judge Orders Central Coventry Fire Department to Stay Open - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

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Judge Orders Central Coventry Fire Department to Stay Open

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by ABC6 Chief Political Reporter Mark Curtis

mcurtis@abc6.com

 

 

"That the public would be at risk, if the Central Coventry Fire Department closed its doors in the next three week," said Superior Court Judge Brian Stern.

And with that Judge Brian Stern ordered the Central Coventry Fire District to stay open, but there will be changes.

First, the Town of Coventry will bill and collect the taxes.

Second firefighters have agreed to an additional $250,000 dollars in concessions.

And one district fire house will close.

Citizens who voted down a tax increase this past Monday like the new deal.

Businessman John Assalone led the fight against the old budget. He said, "As of right now, you are looking at a potential savings of $500 thousands dollars a year. There's 250 thousand from the union."

The Judge ordered that taxpayers must pay their fire department bills, but at last years tax rate.

All this means that 43 fire fighters will not be losing their jobs.

Some worked in recent months without getting paychecks.

Firefighter Dave Godin said, "I've been doing this for 44 years in this town, 22 as a volunteer and 22 as a full timer. You know I've dedicated my live to this town. And to not know from one day to the next it's just overwhelming."

Firefighter Peter Gingerella said, "It allows us to stay there and still protect the citizens of Coventry which is what our main concern is. And it allows us to keep food on our tables and protect our families."

The district will have to come up with a new budget and taxpayers will get to vote it up, or down.

That vote could come in 2 to 4 weeks.

In the meantime, the Judge asked the entire Central Coventry Fire District Board to resign, although he said that does not mean members did anything wrong or improper.

 

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