Public meeting discusses Central Coventry Fire District financial woes

By: Rebecca Turco

Email: rturco@abc6.com

Twitter: @Rebecca_Turco

COVENTRY – State officials held a briefing for Coventry residents Monday night about where the Central Coventry Fire District stands now that it is in the control of a state-appointed receiver.

Many locals packed the auditorium at Coventry High School to express their concerns about the whole situation.

Governor Lincoln Chafee was among state officials on-hand to lay out the budget for the fire district. Steven T. Hartford is the receiver, who is in charge of imposing a five-year plan to pay back the money previously lost due to a clerical area.

The proposed tax levy for fiscal year 2015 is nearly $5 million, which is a $798 difference from last year’s tax levy. Taxpayers could not vote on the levy per the Fiscal Stability Act because the state took over.

Captain David Gorman, president of the Central Coventry Firefighters Union, told ABC6 the situation has been a two-year struggle, but he is at least happy progress is being made. I’m really optimistic that we can get this done,” Gorman said. “We can grow together as a community and make it happen. The tough thing is really going to be gaining the community’s trust back.”

State officials are still negotiating with the firefighters’ union and other creditors on this five-year plan. If agreements cannot be made that result in a structurally balanced plan, then bankruptcy will be the next step to resolve insolvency.

Anyone with questions or concerns can email christy.healey@revenue.ri.gov or via USPS to: Christy Healey, Department of Revenue Director’s Office, 1 Capitol Hill, Providence, RI 02908. A comprehensive report discussing all major aspects of the five year plan will soon be made available to taxpayers in the district, according to state officials.

© WLNE-TV 2014