Thursday, April 4, 2013
No vote is taken; the House hearing takes place April 10.
All the players were there, but the venue was changed. Instead of Town Hall or Swift Community Center, members of the East Greenwich Town Council, EG Fire District, and a few other interested parties were crammed into Room 211 at the State House Wednesday afternoon for the Senate Finance Committee hearing on Senate Bill 739, which if passed would abolish the East Greenwich Fire District, paving the way for creation of a town fire department. The legislation was introduced in February, following passage of a referendum in November asking voters if they favored merging the fire district into the town. Almost everyone who testified at the hearing Wednesday had been heard before voicing similar arguments, but one new voice in favor of the …
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Your guide for life in East Greenwich today, April 3.
Fire District Senate hearing: The Senate Finance Committee hearing on the Fire District legislation is scheduled to take place today at 2 p.m. in Room 211 at the State House. The public is invited to testify. In addition, the House Municipal Government Committee hearing the legislation is scheduled for Wednesday, April 10. Here are some recent articles about the Fire District legislation and the possible impact if it passes: Council Votes to Draft Fire District Merger Legislation; Savings, Costs Of Fire District Legislation; Fire Commissioners Won't Vote On Legislation To Abolish District; Union Will; Commercial Impact Fees Have Paid For $790,000 In Fire District Equipment The Great Books Debate – What’s Worth Reading? How do you know …
Sunday, March 31, 2013
Friday, March 29, 2013
If the district is dissolved and reestablished as a town department, the town will probably lose that funding source.
This is one in a series of articles on what legislation before the General Assembly to abolish the fire district will mean for residents of East Greenwich. One result of the possible dissolution of the East Greenwich Fire District could be the end of a 10-year-old funding source that has brought in $1.3 million into the district. In 2002, the district passed an ordinance allowing for the imposition of commercial impact fees on developers building projects in East Greenwich. The Town of East Greenwich does not impose commercial impact fees and according to Town Council President Michael Isaacs, there's no plan to change that policy in the event legislation before the General Assembly passes to abolish the separate fire district in favor of…
Thursday, March 28, 2013
There will be savings in the short term with the consolidation of accounting, legal and other services, but also a loss of future revenue if commercial impact fees are not continued.
This story was revised at 3 p.m. March 28. If the General Assembly passes pending legislation to abolish the East Greenwich Fire District, paving the way for the town to establish a fire department in its place, what would that mean for EG taxpayers? There would be some immediate savings as well as the probable loss of a significant long-term funding mechanism. According to the legislation, current EGFD employees (both full and part time) would be retained. Those on contract, such as lawyer Scott Spear, accountant Kevin Hundley and the auditing company would not be retained. Scott Spear, the Fire District's lawyer, is budgeted at about $36,000 a year for his services. The legal work would be done by the town's lawyer, who is not a town …
Monday, March 25, 2013
Coincidentally, Jeff Cianciolo is also the person behind the ballot question last November asking voters if the EG Fire District should be abolished and replaced with a town department.
East Greenwich Town Councilor Jeff Cianciolo has been tapped to moderate a meeting of the insolvent Central Coventry Fire District Tuesday night in which voters will be asked if they approve the new budget and tax levy. The CCFD has been in crisis since last fall, when it became clear it did not have enough money to continue operating. The current tax rate is $1.82 per $1,000 of assessed property value. The proposed tax rate is $2.99. A tax rate of $3.15 was rejected at a meeting in February. Cianciolo served as Town Moderator for the town of East Greenwich from 2005 to 2010, when he was elected to the Town Council. He was tapped to moderate the Coventry meeting by CCFD Special Master Richard Land, who also lives in East Greenwich (as …
Hearings on the Fire District legislation before the General Assembly may take place in late April.
Fire District Commission Chair Bill Daly said last week he has no plans to seek a vote from the commissioners on bills now pending before the General Assembly that seek to abolish the EGFD and replace it with a municipal fire department. Instead, Daly said, he will make his case directly to the legislators at state Senate and House committee hearings. Those hearings may take place in late April. Fire Lieutenant Bill Perry, president of EGFFA Local 3328, said his union does plan to vote on whether or not they support the legislation before the hearings take place. The district and the firefighters union are in contract negotiations right now. The firefighters contract expires at the end of the fiscal year, June 30. The East Greenwich Fire…
Monday, March 18, 2013
It's unclear whether Fire District Commissioners will support the legislation.
The next chess piece has been moved: legislation to abolish the East Greenwich Fire District and establish a town fire department was submitted to the General Assembly last week. State Sen. Dawson Hodgson (R-N.K., E.G., S.K., Narr.) and Lou Raptakis (D-Coventry, EG) introduced bill S-0739 on Wednesday, March 13. The intro of the bill – which was referred to the Senate Finance Committee – reads, "Authorizing the Town of East Greenwich to acquire the property, assets and personnel of the East Greenwich Fire District." State Rep. Anthony Giarrusso (R-E.G.) has also submitted a EGFD bill. According to Chuck Newton of the House Minority Office (and also the chair of the EG GOP), the bill is "in the hands of the Clerk of the House" and should …
Thursday, March 7, 2013
They met Monday night to talk about the plan to introduce legislation to incorporate the Fire District into the town – firework ensued.
The meeting between the East Greenwich Fire District, the Town Council, and East Greenwich's state legislators Monday night was the sort of lively example of debate not often seen in staid East Greenwich. Here's are video clips of some of the more dramatic portions. To read an account of the meeting, click here.
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
State Senate colleague Dawson Hodgson strongly disagrees.
State Sen. Lou Raptakis told the Town Council and Fire District commissioners Monday night that resolutions where there's disagreement between the parties fail "99 percent" of the time in General Assembly, breathing fresh life into some of the EGFD commissioners' hopes to be able to remain independent. That was after about 45 minutes of heated debate over whether or not voters understood that the referendum they passed in November – to merge the Fire District with the town – would actually come to pass without another townwide vote. For video from the meeting, click here. East Greenwich state legislators attended a joint meeting of the Town Council and the EG Fire District to discuss legislation the Council is drafting to create a …