Coventry Fire District Board sees big shake-up

COVENTRY, R.I. (WPRI) — Frustration over Tuesday night’s budget meeting to cut the districts expenses by 15 percent spilled over into Wednesday night’s meeting.

The heated discussions, the past several days, has led to the resignations of a newly appointed board member, the board’s attorney and treasurer.

All of which happened at Wednesday night’s meeting.

“To reduce a hard worked on budget by honorable men. I don’t want to be a part of that,” said attorney Arthur Capaldi.

The lone returning board member on the five member board, John D’Onforio, says the district finished last year with a net loss of $140,000.

A vote Tuesday night slashed the proposed budget by $432,000.

But D’Onforio says the state will be watching closely to make sure the fire department’s budget is funded responsibly.

“If we don’t meet those responsibilities they will step in,” said D’Onforio. “And how quickly could that be. It could be a matter of weeks.”

However, new member, Frank Palin does not believe the board will need the state to take over.

“Assistance, guidance…absolutely. I have no problem with that, they have a lot of experience in that,” said Palin. “But to come in and take over? No, we have to be given a chance to do the job.”

The overhauled board has much to do in a short time, including finding a new attorney and treasurer on a tight budget.

They also need to appoint a board chair and are discussing ways to cut costs.

Some ideas that have been presented are cutting overtime and looking to see if the state should be paying for street lights on the state roads in town.

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