Coventry residents have voted to dissolve the Coventry Fire District. The financially troubled district is set to run out of money next month. Voters were asked whether to approve a tax increase to keep the district afloat. The district needed some $600,000 to stay in operation. District firefighters have already accepted cuts in overtime and health benefits.
District Board Chairman Frank Palin says he’s unsurprised voter decided to do away with the district.
“I’m saddened by it, but I understand it. I think with things going on in the state there’s a lot of anger about fire fighters, and I don’t think we had a chance,” said Palin.
In recent months lawmakers across the state have worked to reduce the cost of firefighter overtime; to the vocal opposition of Firefighters unions.
In Coventry, Palin said despite the vote, the fate of Central Coventry fire services remain up in the air.
“We have to ultimately get permission of the General Assembly to dissolve,” said Palin. “However, if we run out of money, we don’t have a lot of choice.”
The board will meet Monday to determine next steps. Meanwhile, he says, it’s unclear who will provide fire services for the nearly 7,000 in the district.
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