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NEW: Rep. Morgan Slams Coventry Fire Spending Proposal

Tuesday, April 09, 2013


Rep. Patricia Morgan has criticized the plan to spend additional money on Central Coventry Fire

State Rep. Patricia Morgan (R-Coventry, West Warwick, Warwick) has called a proposal to spend $300,000 to keep the failed Coventry Fire District operating "absolutely irresponsible."

The Coventry Town Council will be asked tonight to loan the soon-in-liquidation Central Coventry Fire District the amount to maintain operations for a several weeks, until another solution is found to provide residents with fire and emergency services on a permanent basis.  The Court overseeing the liquidation of the Fire District must approve such a plan, however.

In a release sent out today, Rep. Morgan said, "We have offers in hand from well-established private ambulance companies that tell us we can base two fully-staffed ambulances in Coventry, 24/7, for $250,000 for a six-month period.  That leaves something on the order of $900,000 available to contract for fire services, which are typically just 20% of all fire and emergency calls."

She continues, "Given this, it is hardly a responsible decision to opt to spend $300,000 just to keep an already-failed fire district up and running for a few short weeks without major changes in its cost structure.  The last thing Coventry taxpayers need is for the Town Council or anyone to add to the mountain of debt the fire district has incurred. Creditors are already likely underwater, and this is going to make matters worse. It simply makes no sense."

Morgan has filed legislation, House Bill 5958, that would permit the Town of Coventry to collect some $1.2 million in unbilled fire taxes, and contract for fire and emergency services. This amount is based on the current tax levy of $1.82.

“It is a step forward to get the Town involved in solving this problem, said Morgan, “but let’s not perpetuate the silly spending that drove the Fire District into liquidation in the first place.  Three of the four Coventry fire districts are among the 11 most expensive fire districts in the state."


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