Fire board meets to discuss payroll issues

(WPRI photo)

COVENTRY, R.I. (WPRI)- Members of the Coventry fire board met again Tuesday night to discuss the cash-strapped fire district. The district barely made payroll last week, leaving many firefighters without a check for several days.

The district faces a deficit of $432,000, which is the same amount that was cut from their operating budget in December. Several board members proposed ways to get that money back.

“We had a motion to call for another financial meeting to reinstate the taxes that were cut in December and the motion was made and it was not passed by the board. So where do we go from here? I really don’t know,” said board member John D’Onofrio.

A vote was held on smaller issues, including creating a committee to examine the cost savings of shutting off some streetlights in the town and allowing the fire chief to sell some miscellaneous items.

“Maybe the chief’s car we could get the most for because it is a 2014, but other than that if I hope to get $5,000 for all of that other stuff, I would be lucky,” said Chief Robert Warren.

A list of individuals who have tax bills past due as of January 31, 2015 will be published in the local paper. Board members hope this will put pressure on residents to pay their taxes so the district can pay its firefighters.

“We are going to be very close, thank god. We have a tax that’s due July 31. If we can make it through July 31, we can probably get through into August. So we’ve got a little bit of time,” said Frank Palin, president of the Coventry Fire District Board.

The board voted to table the issue of layoffs. The issue will be brought up at the board’s next meeting. A future meeting date has not been set.

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