Judge Says No To Central Coventry Fire Loan - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

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Judge Says No To Central Coventry Fire Loan

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by ABC6 Chief Political Reporter Mark Curtis 

mcurtis@abc6.com 

The Central Coventry Fire dispute was back before a Superior Court judge because of continuing money problems. The Fire District's Special Master wanted to borrow a one-and-a-half-million dollar line of credit from Centerville Bank, to keep the financially troubled department afloat.

Richard Land, Fire District Special Master, made his case for the loan saying, "And with my current cash position, that as we move forward we are not faced with the same issue of having to shut down on an emergency basis because we don't have funds available to pay either the bills we've got in our hand, or the accruing liabilities."

The General Assembly and Governor just approved allowing the Fire District to collect fire taxes, but at last year's rate. Most of that money has not come in yet. And, the town of Coventry just loaned the department $300 thousand dollars, but half of that is already gone. State lawmakers came to court to say, no more loans.

State Sen. Nick Kettle, (R) Rhode Island said, "Absolutely. I think we need to be very conscious about piling any more debt on to this district. And ultimately we don't know what the voters are going to do in September when this new budget comes up."

State Rep. Patricia Morgan, (R) Rhode Island, "That's it. He needs to figure out how to make the money last. And my fear is that by giving him another million and a half, he was just going to pile more debt on the taxpayers."

Ultimately Judge Brian Stern agreed. He told the Fire District to try to manage its remaining money as best it can, but for now he said "no" to the loan, although he's open to reconsider down the road. The Judge will also decide on Tuesday if the Fire District can start making preparations to elect a new Board of Directors.

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