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CCFD liquidated; district's last day May 16

February 13, 2014

CCFD Board Chairman Fred Gralinski (left) and fire chief Andy Baynes confer outside of Judge Brian Stern's courtroom yesterday. Kendra Leigh Miller. Daily Times.

WARWICK — Superior Court Judge Bryan Stern made his final ruling to liquidate the Central Coventry Fire District Wednesday after stating in a very clear-cut manner that had the former board not left such a gaping hole in the budget to large to repair and acted in what he called a “reckless manner,” then maybe it would not have come to this.

The doors for the two stations will close May 16, 2014.

“This court will take the unprecedented step for liquidation and reorganization,” Stern stated, “and the two are not the same.”

Stern said liquidation is just one step in the process and make it clear that no one was going to be out of a job tomorrow nor would anything be closing automatically.

“In the end, the taxpayers made it clear that they didn’t want to pay and each dollar spent is more than a dollar in liability,” added Stern.

According to the Rhode Island Business Incorporation Act, it’s not the court’s responsibility to take over the liquidation process but the town’s and state’s.

According to that act and its many scenarios, two of the six apply to CCFD’s situation: the district’s assets were wasted and lost and the majority of holders (in this case the taxpayers) voted down a budget.

“The voters knew full well what was required of them yet they still voted the budget down,” Stern said. “The judicial branch is not charged with public safety. The town and the state created the district; now that it has failed, they can decide what the next steps are.”

Stern said what brought this district down was the total disregard for such a huge tax error.

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