News

Jun 1, 2013

McLaughlin introduces fire district merger bill for Cumberland


STATE HOUSE – Rep. James N. McLaughlin (D-Dist. 57, Cumberland, Central Falls) introduced a proposal to revise Cumberland’s charter in order to consolidate its four fire districts into one with extra taxpayer protections.

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McLaughlin introduces fire district merger bill for Cumberland

STATE HOUSE – Rep. James N. McLaughlin (D-Dist. 57, Cumberland, Central Falls) introduced a proposal to revise Cumberland’s charter in order to consolidate its four fire districts into one with extra taxpayer protections.
In November of 2010, more than 80 percent of voters empowered the Town Council to take on the fire district issue. This month, the council approved a resolution, outlining their request for the General Assembly to issue a new charter for the proposed combined district.
“This is about district equality,” Representative McLaughlin said. “People are clearly in favor of this merger. There’s no doubt about that. This bill will restore fairness and tax equality across the town. For years, I have suggested that fire districts adhere to the same tax levy cap that every municipality must abide by. Cumberland needs this in order to continue to prosper.”
Representative McLaughlin’s legislation – which Sen. Ryan W. Pearson (D-Dist. 19, Cumberland, Lincoln) introduced in the Senate – includes an element that would require the district to model its budget process in the fire charter after the open process outlined in the Cumberland Town Charter. These provisions require public hearings and public notice prior to any budget action. Additionally, it includes a clear referendum process that provides for the ability of any registered voter to petition for a town referendum on any issue related to the budget. Sen. Roger A. Picard (D-Dist. 20, Woonsocket, Cumberland) cosponsors the Senate legislation (2013-S 0958).