Letter to the Editor: Vote 'No' On Merger Ballot Question
Bill Daly chairs the EG Fire District Board of Commissioners.
On Nov. 6 the voters of East Greenwich, in a non-binding referendum, will be asked the question of whether they want the East Greenwich Fire District to cease to exist and become a Fire Department within the Town. The answer to this question should be NO for the following reasons.
It is universally agreed that the East Greenwich Fire District has been providing excellent service to the East Greenwich community since 1797, 215 years. The firefighters have performed admirably over the years and are highly regarded in our Town. There is no need to change.
The Fire District is financially well managed by the Board of Fire Commissioners and does not have one penny of debt. All the independent financial audits have been excellent.
The Fire District tax rate, over the last seven years, on average, is ½ percent less than the tax rate imposed by the Town of East Greenwich.
The Fire District’s disciplined planning process has delivered an excellent replacement schedule for its fire apparatus i.e, ladders, engines and rescue vehicles. The District has $900,000 in reserve for apparatus replacement and has been able to build up this fund over the years by setting aside money each year in the budget. The District has been able to do this and still keep the tax rate for the Fire District, on average, less than the Town.
The Town Council has agreed that there is no material financial benefit or savings to the taxpayers to make this change.
Over the last 10 years, the Fire District has received $1.5 million in impact fees from developers. Since the Town does not impose impact fees on commercial development, the Town could potentially lose up to $1.5 million in impact fees over the next 10 years if the change is made.
The Fire District discusses its financial budget every month at its monthly meetings at Town Hall. All residents are encouraged to ask questions about any line item in the budget or about any aspect of Fire District operations. The Fire District operates in an open and totally transparent manner.
There is admittedly no financial or operational benefit to the taxpayers to dissolve the East Greenwich Fire District. I urge you to vote NO on the non binding referendum on November 6th.
Bill Daly, President, Fire District Commissioners
47 Peirce Street
East Greenwich, RI 02818