STATE HOUSE – State Representative Patricia Morgan (R-Coventry, West Warwick, Warwick) charged Wednesday that officials of the Central Coventry firefighter’s union were misleading taxpayers who are now being asked to accept a whopping 36% increase in their fire district taxes.
If that isn’t enough, this revised budget still does not deal with its $3.3 million debt, or lawsuits that could add millions more, she said.
“And now, taxpayers are being told by union officials that the scheduled vote on the Fire District budget is a choice between higher taxes or no fire services. Union President David Gorman was quoted in the Providence Journal on Tuesday, saying “There is no alternative to not approving this plan, other than the district shutting down and no longer providing essential emergency services to residents.”
“At best, his comments are deceptive. At worst, they are pure falsehoods. Nothing could be further from the truth,” said Morgan.
“The Court overseeing this matter has focused all of its attention on the safety and protection of taxpayers. Part of the reason for a second vote on a budget was to ensure this.
“But there is a more detailed plan. Encouraged by the Court, four Coventry fire chiefs have designed and submitted a fire protection and safety plan for central Coventry. The residents of Central Coventry will be safe, regardless of what they decide. And they need to know it.
“The Court has the plan, the union knows it and the Special Master, Richard Land knows it. Their statements to the contrary are simply false.
“I believe that release of this plan is of extraordinary importance, and I have asked the Court to release the plan before the vote so taxpayers know they will not be left unprotected.
“It is bad enough that the gross mismanagement of the Central Coventry Fire District has brought us to this place. But to memorialize it as a result of misleading information, and in effect tell taxpayers ‘Tough luck: you have no choice’ would be the real injustice here.
“The Court has it within its power to ensure this does not happen, and I have asked the Court to act swiftly to create the environment in which a thoughtful, well-informed vote can take place,” said Morgan.
Rep. Morgan's letter to Judge Brian P. Stern is attached to this article.