Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Cumberland Lincoln 11-19-2020

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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LINCOLN – After more than a year of preparation and a six-month delay due to the coronavirus pan- demic, the decision of whether or not to merge two of Lincoln's fire districts will soon be put to voters. On Saturday, Dec. 5, residents of Albion and Saylesville will cast votes to determine whether their fire dis- tricts will be consolidated into one district, to be called the Lincoln Fire Department. Town Administrator Joseph Almond, who has voiced full support for combining the districts, said this is a step toward having a single, uni- fied fire district for the entire town. Almond said merging each of Lincoln's individual fire district char- ters into a single, town-wide depart- ment is "the most desirable path forward." Lincoln's fire safety needs have changed over time, he said, and while separate districts for each vil- lage made sense at one time, main- taining individual fire districts has resulted in staffing inefficiencies and duplicated spending on equipment. "The rising cost to provide profes- sional emergency services cannot be responsibly sustained by small indi- vidual fire districts," he said. The Saylesville Fire District previ- ously consolidated with the former Fairlawn and Lonsdale Fire Districts. Almond said merging Albion and Saylesville makes sense financially, and ensures more equitable fire pro- tection services across town. "Approval of this merger will pro- vide the residents and taxpayers of both districts with improved service while creating an opportunity to realize better cost efficiencies mov- ing forward," he said. Both fire chiefs have expressed their full support of the merger, as well as members of the Saylesville Board of Fire Wardens and Albion Board of Fire Commissioners. A letter signed by members of both boards that oversaw the con- solidation plan said each district is looking to "seize the opportunity to propel the organization to new heights of operational efficiency in providing emergency services to the district taxpayers." "The benefits are many and the drawbacks few," the letter reads. "Financially, each district weighs a relative balance of assets and debt. The physical and human resources are quite similar and the vision is firmly aligned toward bringing these two districts closer to a lean model of operations common in the 21st century." 2 CUMBERLAND / LINCOLN NOVEMBER 19-25, 2020 | VALLEY BREEZE | CUMBERLAND LINCOLN EDITION 2 CUMBERLAND – Candidates for two local write-in races were still waiting for the results of the Nov. 3 election this week, as delays contin- ued to slow the process. Town Clerk Sandra Giovanelli said Tuesday that she'd been hear- ing from some candidates almost daily inquiring who won for School Committee in District 4 and Fire District 1, neither of which had offi- cial declared candidates. Amy Rogalski and Dan Pedro were the two known candidates seeking write-in votes for the non-partisan school board seat, and the Fire Board race had several candidates. Chris Hunter, representing the Rhode Island Board of Elections, said Monday afternoon that the board had just started tabulating write-ins for Cumberland, Warren and Tiverton, the three communities with contests dependent on the write- in tallies. "This may take up to a week to complete," he said, confirming local officials' assertions that the elec- tions might not be certified until the Monday before Thanksgiving. Local boards tally write-ins cast at the polls, but those tally sheets had not been compiled as of Monday, said Hunter. Giovanelli said there were some 7,000 mail ballot applications, but she doesn't know how many ballots were actually submitted. The Board of Canvassers and staff manages write-ins cast by in-person voters, she said, while the Board of Elections manages write-ins on mail ballots. Giovanelli said she heard from state officials that the process was proving to be a bit more involved than earlier anticipated, and her office was "a little in the dark with what's happen- ing." She said she has "no idea" who might have come out on top in either race, emphasizing that the mail ballot counts could completely change the results after the in-person votes. Town awaits final results of its two write-in races By ETHAN SHOREY Valley Breeze Editor Almond, fire boards urge merger Residents to vote Dec. 5 By NICOLE DOTZENROD Valley Breeze Staff Writer BREEZE PHOTOS BY NICOLE DOTZENROD On Dec. 5, residents of SAYLESVILLE and ALBION will vote on whether to merge their fire districts into one. 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Call 401-767-1990 or 401-333-0780 or apply online at Valley Breeze Thanksgiving deadline schedule and different publication days HOLIDAY DEADLINES The Valley Breeze will be closed on Thursday, November 26, 2020 in observance of Thanksgiving Day. The news and display advertis- ing deadline will move forward to Friday, November 20th at 3 p.m. The classified line advertising deadline will move to Monday, November 23rd at 9 a.m. PUBLICATION DAYS The Valley Breeze Cumberland & Lincoln edition, The Valley Breeze North Smithfield Blackstone Woonsocket edition and The Valley Breeze & Observer edition will be delivered on Wednesday, November 25th (instead of Thursday, November 26th).

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