Central Coventry Fire District Board Financial Reports, Budget Nixed

President Girard Bouchard ousted in board election; Fisher & Jervis in.


It’s definitely back to the drawing board for Central Coventry Fire District board members.

In a contentious, 4-hour-long annual meeting before an overflow crowd of more than 400 taxpayers at the Coventry Town Hall Annex on Monday, most citizens responded with a loud and collective “No!” in voting not to accept the Tax Collector’s and Treasurer’s Reports for the fiscal year ending Aug. 31, 2012, the proposed CCFD budget for 2012-2013 and a resolution to adopt the tax rate for next year.

Discrepancies in figures between the two reports- including one estimate that budget figures were $300,000 apart- left many voters confused and upset.

The Treasurer’s Report showed the budgeted total revenue for fiscal year ending Aug. 31, 2012 was $6,276,340. The total of revenue shortages and expense overages resulted in a deficit of $995,998, due to expenses in excess of amount budgeted ($343,179) and total revenue being short by $652,819.

In the past year, it was noted that the amount of delinquent balance was cut from $854,868 to $196,334. 

Interim Chief Andrew Baynes read and discussed, line by line, items for the 2012-2013 proposed budget totals for personnel, $5,098.859, and operations, $1,584,920, and projected revenues, of $1,000,384.

A vote was also passed to abate noncollectable taxes for $6,000

“Get us some answers,” implored Coventry voter Conrad Burns to board members. “We don’t know this, we don’t know that, we don’t know anything.”

The board did display information showing district residential property owners with a house valued at $140,000 would pay an estimated $67.42 more annually and mobile home owners $49.00 for 2012-2013.

But Leo Blais explained the three-tier system for different tax rates for residential, mobile home and commercial property owners was “an illegal action”.

After much discussion, a measure was adopted to suspend discussion on both reports and complete further business on the agenda. A resolution was adopted to have reports audited by Dec. 3 when the board and citizens would reconvene. An amendment was added requesting the reports include more information and comparative annual statistics. “We will do our best to have a more ‘people-friendly’ budget,” said President Girard Bouchard. “We will also advertise the meeting.”

Chief Baynes presented the Chief’s Report for the fiscal year ending Aug. 31, 2012. He said the department was staffed with 52 career Firefighters/EMT’s, one Fire Marshall, one Tax Collector and one Administrative Assistant. EMS service accounted for 2,452 incidents and fire-related service 765, or 8.8 alarms per 24-hour period.

A loan for tax anticipating notes was approved with a provision that the board must pay off the total loan by August, 2013.

CCFD Board members voted to accept and support two possible resolutions by District 33 Senate Candidate Lou Raptakis. If elected, he promised to introduce in the General Assembly legislation to freeze the district fire tax for elderly residents and another to adopt a 4.25% tax cap for the district.

A resolution proposed by Leo Blais was passed for a charter and by-law commission for the fire district.

Finally, during a brief recess, dozens of voters did not return to vote in the election for new board members due to the lateness and delay in voting. Earlier, a hand vote to adjourn the meeting was taken and defeated.

Paper ballot results were: Marie Fisher, 119, R. David Jervis, 104 and Girard Bouchard, Jr., 65. Lou Raptakis earlier had bowed out of the election. Bouchard was given a standing ovation by the remainder of the crowd for executing his duties as CCFD President as the session adjourned.

dohn joe November 21, 2012 at 03:52 AM
Matthew thinks in a political way. to say what people want to hear . matthew i dont dislike you. but i do dislike people that think just their sicknesd should be taken care of first. so would uou bump the next person in line just to save what you think is better? As in would you save a person with breast cancer before any other kind of cancer? Im very sorry if you lost someone that you loved but there are many many more sick people that need help that cant get the state to get volored taxpaying vehicles to represent them. You sir only use these vehicles as billboards.
dohn joe November 21, 2012 at 03:56 AM
Awareness is good. but shouldnt you be using wooden bllboards. its a shame how our taxpaying vehicles and workers are used to be mere billboards for the choice few people that have money.
dohn joe November 21, 2012 at 04:09 AM
and I would like to see this firefighters on the clock doing charity on the books the next quarter that it becomes public please. has anyone seen the logs for fire departments and actually seen that they stood there for charity? I read them all the time and have NEVER seen it on their logs. Must be a hidden expense.
dohn joe November 21, 2012 at 04:10 AM
im not trying to be an ass, all im trying to do is open eyes to whats going on.
Ted November 21, 2012 at 04:08 PM
After speaking with Matthew who is the treasurer of our chapter, I reviewed the comments made of the patch. I am sorry you view our chapter as singular and for the benefit of a firefighter agenda. I would like to explain how we benefit the community of those stricken with cancer but I think your disposition may be set. I would truly like to show you our chapter in person and the work we do in hopes I might change your opinion of our work. We do our very best to support families who battle cancer without any profit of payroll and it’s done on our own time. We are an organization of volunteer and career first responders who believe we can make a difference and elevate some suffering of those who are experiencing hardship while fighting any type of cancer. In 2007 when the Pink Heals Mission was founded in Arizona, it was founded to support women and their fight against all cancers. Our trucks are pink because it is her color and not that of a disease. Since 2007 we have changed our mission to help families and not only women. I am willing to discuss this at length but I won’t engage in a war of words which is disrespectful and vulgar as it simply will not be beneficial to either of us. If you have anything I can help explain, I am willing to do my best and discuss. Ted J.Dion President, Rhode Island Chapter of Pink Heals


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