Central Coventry Fire District asks for tax money early

Coventry residents are being asked to help solve the cash crunch facing the Central Coventry Fire District by paying their taxes a lot sooner than usual.

The district is in bad shape. It's in receivership and the firefighters haven't been paid in 2-weeks.

“The district has no funding at this point.” said the district's special master Richard Land.

To change that, Land has been authorized by the Kent County Superior Court to hand out tax invoices, asking residents to pay their tax bills for the district early.

Many residents are worried about the fire district, but they aren't happy to have to bail it out, by paying their taxes early.

“I think that it's absurd. ” said Coventry resident Catherine Schwartz. “I don't think people should have to pay early, some people don't have the money. They'd have to pay it a little bit at a time because people have to work. I think it's crazy.”
Coventry resident Kevin Keenan agrees saying that “People are already you know feeling a lot of financial stress and now they have to come up with tax money, that most people begrudgingly pay and pay it early.”

One group that's happy to see the invoices go out are the district's firefighters. They've been working without pay for the last two weeks.

“We're very hopeful and thankful to the court for ruling to send out the tax bills to start getting revenue in.” said Coventry Central Firefighters Union President David Gorman.

If residents in Coventry don't decide to pay these invoices early, the district's 50-firefighters may be forced to walk off the job.

“If we aren't able to raise funds from the payment of these invoices in the very near future, while I don't speak for the union, I think that their members would be hard pressed to continue to work.” said special master Richard Land.

Coventry has also stepped in to help the district, letting fire trucks get gas at the town depot.

The district is hoping to collect enough money from the invoices, to help run the district, until a budget can be put in place, sometime in early December.