Residents of the Central Coventry Fire District gathered at Coventry High School Monday night to review and vote on the fiscal 2012-2013 budget and tax levy proposed by Special Master Richard Land.
Following months of investigation and review of the district's finances, which included the discovery of a $217,285,200 assessment error in 2009 regarding a Commerce Park property, Land presented the $6,581,742 budget and resulting tax levy of $3.15 per $1,000 of value for all assessed property within the district.
This rate shows a $1.33 per $1,000 increase for residential and tangible property and a 47 cent decrease per $1,000 for commercial property when compared to the old and incorrect rates used for fiscal years 2010-2011, 2011-2012, and as the basis for the Special Master’s court-authorized invoices. The old rates used the Dec. 31, 2009 property assessments and applied a tiered rate system while also being calculated based upon the 2009 assessment error.
432 registered taxpayers of the district cast their votes for or against the proposed budget and tax rate. After a final tally, the proposal was rejected by 24 votes - 204 in favor and 228 against.
"The budget did not pass, therefore the next step is to go to court and seek to shut the district down," said Land after announcing the vote tallies.
Land will meet with Superior Court Judge Brian P. Stern on Tuesday morning to discuss what options, if any, the district has going forward.
"I have to look at the whole situation, talk to the judge and see what he wants to do," said Land. "We have to look at the numbers, see what kind of money we have and how long we can run the district for. Maybe we'll be back. We'll see."
Check back with Coventry Patch on Tuesday for additional detailed coverage of Monday night's budget meeting.