COVENTRY, R.I. (AP) — Officials say taxpayers voted to increase the budget for the embattled Coventry Fire District by $400,000 during their recent annual financial meeting.
District Board Chairman Frank Palin tells The Providence Journal that the firefighters union “hijacked” the Dec. 8 meeting with assistance from family and friends.
Palin says only 75 residents showed up to the meeting and someone proposed the $400,000 increase, which passed by just one vote.
David Gorman, president of the firefighters union, says the increase was proposed so Coventry could add firefighters to address safety concerns raised by the district’s two-person minimum staffing requirement.
Taxpayers voted to dissolve the district in June rather than raise the city’s fire tax rate.
Palin says the budget increase will raise the tax rate to $3.28 per $1,000 valuation.