National Guard Could Provide Fire Service in Central Coventry - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather


National Guard Could Provide Fire Service in Central Coventry

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by ABC6 Chief Political Reporter Mark Curtis 

Troops from the Rhode Island National Guard could be manning fire trucks in Central Coventry, if that fire department shuts down as scheduled on April 11th.

Governor Chafee has that authority, but right now is reluctant.

"Well we're getting ahead of our selves here. We are working on this," said Gov. Lincoln Chafee (I-RI).

But officials in Coventry confirm a National Guard request is an option they are discussing.

Coventry Town Council President Gary Cote said, "And if I think anyone's personal safety is in jeopardy, I will sign that paper and declare a state of emergency and at that point, we'll contact the Governor's office and ask for help.

After taxpayers rejected the budget and tax increase last week, there is now a proposal in the General Assembly to let the fire department keep operating until October at last year's tax level.

State Rep. Lisa Tomasso (D-RI) said, "If we can get through the year on those tax revenues that come in, we would be able to move forward a lot easier."

Another bill in the General Assembly would allow fire taxes to increase.

If none of these bills is approved, then the National Guard call up, becomes an option.

The Governor is hoping it doesn't come to that.

"It really is a local issue, but still there is a responsibility to work together and I want to do that," said Governor Chafee.

Any solution from the General Assembly and Governor must get done in the next eight days.


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