Lawmaker makes new proposal to save Coventry fire district
COVENTRY, R.I. —
Lawmakers are considering a number of proposals at the Rhode Island State House regarding the future of the Central Coventry Fire District.
The latest idea Tuesday started with notes jotted down on a napkin.
"We started on a napkin. Then we started typing it out. Sometimes good ideas are generated on a napkin," said state Sen. Lou Raptakis of Coventry. "Our dilemma is time. And public safety."
The cash-strapped district is in court receivership. Last week, voters overwhelming rejected a big tax hike to save it. Then a judge ruled the district will dissolve April 12.
Raptakis said he sat down with another lawmaker and the firefighters' union president to try to hash out ways to keep the district afloat and thinks they came up with something.
Raptakis said the key elements of the plan would be to keep taxes at current levels by keeping three stations closed, returning a million-dollar ladder truck, reducing minimum staffing levels, and cutting the number of firefighters through retirements.
Firefighters' union president David Gorman told NBC 10 some of the measures had been discussed previously, but he said he thought some of the changes were unsafe. Now Gorman said the voters have made it clear this is what they want.
Raptakis said the numbers on this latest plan are being looked over. If they work out, it will be turned into proposed legislation at the state house.