COVENTRY — After sitting through a more than two-hour meeting Thursday, listening to the board answer questions from taxpayers about how the proposed tax increase wouldn’t “fix” the Central Coventry Fire District’s debt, the taxpayers were in shock after the board not only voted unanimously to not ratify the union’s concessions but also voted unanimously to request the court to liquidate the fire district.
After Central Coventry Board of Chairman Fred Gralinski made both announcements, stunned silence in the audience followed.
The meeting was immediately adjourned when people began shouting “what happens now?”
“The board didn’t feel the concessions were adequate,” Gralinski said after the meeting. “They weren’t enough to make a difference and that’s it.”
Central Coventry Fire District Capt. David Gorman said after the meeting that he expected that vote.
“It could be the union’s way of trying to get us to come back to the table but the judge said in court the other day that the board had to make the decision but also had to know the consequences,” Gorman said. “I don’t know how they can make the decision and not know the consequences and now, what wil they do for fire safety?”
According to Gorman, as a result of the vote, Coventry Town Council President Gary Cote must create an emergency proclamation to put service into the hands of the town.
As for the next step for the union, they will appeal to whoever they need to.
“The judge will ask the board what they plan to do for public safety,” said the captain. “We get on average, 10 to 15 calls a day this month. Whose going to answer them? I wasted a holiday weekend and we came up with $1.2 million in concessions, for what?”
The board’s decision will be heard by Superior Court Judge Brian Stern tomorrow in the Kent County Courthouse at 9:30 a.m.