Money Watchers: Decision to liquidate fire district could come soon

A decision to liquidatethe Central Coventry Fire District could come as early as Friday after voters overwhelminglyrejected a budget for the district on Tuesday night.

More than 1,800 votersturned out to decide the fate of the district which has been in courtreceivership for the past six months. Voters were faced with a decision to pay36 percent more in fire taxes or disband the district.

The final vote was 1,357against the new budget; 484 voted in favor.

"I feel the peoplehave spoken" said Richard Land, the court-appointed special master for thefire district. "Very anecdotally, I heard people saying they're tired ofthe over spending, tired of being taxed."

However, questions aboutsafety remain. And while there is a contingency plan in place as organized byother fire chiefs, the plan has not yet been released. The district employsmore than 40 firefighters.

"I'm concernedfrankly that someone may not get the kind of coverage they need in thatemergency situation," Land said.

The district has morethan $2.2 million of unpaid bills, which include debt related to a laddertruck.

Land said the debt couldgrow dramatically because of breach of contract claims and other accruedliabilities.