January 6, 2009

Three Communities Work Towards Consolidation

Marc Comtois

In anticipation of the Governor's address tomorrow, in which it is likely he'll announce some pretty deep cuts in aid to cities and towns, it seems like a good idea for communities to embark on the sort of potential cost-saving projects that Warwick, East Greenwich and North Kingstown appear ready to try (couldn't find link to Warwick Beacon article online):

Consolidation efforts between Warwick, East Greenwich and North Kingstown appear to offer the three municipalities the best of all worlds--reduced costs, improved services and even lower costs for the homeowner.

Mayor Scott Avedisian disclosed last week that talks are being held between the fire departments of the the three municipalities with the thought that Warwick would handle dispatch operations for East Greenwich and North Kingstown. Revenues generated by the service would offset Warwick costs while freeing personnel in the other two departments.

The article goes on to explain that some infrastructure differences still need to be figured out and that, at least in East Greenwich, upgrades to 911 dispatch (for instance) could lead to lower homeowner insurance rates. Hopefully, ideas like these will bear fruit. There really isn't much of an alternative.

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I could see this happening up in the northern end too with Cumberland, Lincoln and maybe a Smithfield or someone else.

CF, Pawtucket and Providence should match up as well. Heck, throw EP in there too.

This could be fun. Turn the state into a max of about 10 school districts.

Posted by: Patrick at January 6, 2009 3:17 PM

The potential problem with fire department dispatch consolidation is the fire alarm circuits. Those don't go over regular phone lines- the wiring is completely separate. So if I'm not mistaken a merger like this would mean taking all the wire currently going into the NKFD and EGFD dispatch centers and re-routing it north to Warwick. That can't be cheap.

Posted by: EMT at January 6, 2009 4:02 PM

I'm hearing some very interesting stuff from those in the know about tomorrow night's big speech by the Gov. It just might be worth preempting Wheel of Fortune after all.

"Pretty deep cuts" ... um, yeah ... and then some.

Poverty pimps: be afraid, be very afraid. Might want to keep praying. :)

Posted by: Will at January 6, 2009 5:14 PM


I assume you are referring to box alarms. On average, how many of them have come in over the past five years in NK and EG? Without that kind of data, I can't help but read your comment and suspect a union inspired attempt to put obstacles in the way of a possible solution to our budget problems (here in the state that spends more per capita on fire protection than any other in the nation).

Posted by: John at January 6, 2009 5:50 PM

EMT, from the piece:

[Warwick Fire Chief Kevin] Sullivan says switching 911 emergency calls now going to East Greenwich dispatch to Warwick "is easy." The challenge is linking incoming fire alarms to the Warwick system. Warwick converted to a radio alarm system over 20 years ago, whereas East Greenwich still has a "hard wire" system that feeds directly into dispatch.

East Greenwich has undertaken a study of its system with the thought of installing a device that would automatically transmit incoming alarms in East Greenwich to Warwick dispatch on Sandy Lane.

Posted by: Marc at January 6, 2009 7:02 PM


It may not just from box alarms, but from larger buildings with hard wired systems that may be directly connected to the fire dept.

Posted by: tcc3 at January 6, 2009 7:04 PM

John, there is not, in fact, a conspiracy in everything that remotely involves a union. Moving the wires costs what it costs. tcc3 is correct, the alarms are hard-wired (except in Warwick, as Marc points out) from the buildings to NKFD/EGFD.

The answer to your question is, pretty much every day. And no, it's not something that can be done without. The buildings need the alarms, and they need to be connected to the fire department dispatch.

Now, yes, there may be a way to transmit the alarms from EG to Warwick without completely re-wiring everything. How reliable something like that is remains to be seen.

Posted by: EMT at January 6, 2009 8:44 PM

If he’s not already involved call Ray LaBelle, Director of RI E-911!

He’ll advise you what is needed or what agency/business and people to contact to do the cross connections.

A simple solution.

Posted by: Ken at January 7, 2009 2:00 AM


If anyone ought to be praying, it's the GOP and conservative thinkers in this state (though there don't appear to be any true conservatives here).

I find you arrogance amusing, considering it's the "poverty pimps" that always seem to win the battles, while people on your side always lose. So keep whistling past the graveyard.

Oh well, at least you Republicans really know how to throw a party. I'm sure you'll be doing that tonight.

Posted by: Rasputin at January 7, 2009 10:26 AM

"If anyone ought to be praying, it's the GOP and conservative thinkers in this state..." - there are no Republicans other than the Governor who have any effect whatsoever on the state's finances. The Governor hasn't and doesn't make the sweetheart deals and cozy up with the unions. All he can do is furlough workers when the money runs out, and even then seemingly only if the judiciary lets him. He continues to be a convenient beard for the Smith Hill bandits. You would need to be a very mad monk indeed to think otherwise.

Posted by: chuckR at January 7, 2009 1:22 PM


Ever hear the one about winning all the battles but sill losing the war?

Posted by: John at January 7, 2009 2:18 PM

"I find you arrogance amusing, considering it's the "poverty pimps" that always seem to win the battles, while people on your side always lose. So keep whistling past the graveyard."

As Darth Vader might say, "I find your lack of faith disturbing."

Well, that's the reason why the state is in the state it's in. It's not arrogance, it's acknowledging that reality is about to be splashed in everyone's face, and there's no getting out of it this time. The stuff's gonna hit the fan big time, and the Dems in the General Assembly have no viable ways of getting around it. You have all the power -- and you're screwed. We're sitting back and watching the welfare state burn (and yes, there is a meeting at 7:00pm). This budget is going to be a stinker, but it's simply necessary.

Posted by: Will at January 7, 2009 6:29 PM
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