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It's Time to Act on Regional Dispatch, Say McKee and Municipal Leaders

PROVIDENCE, R.I.- Lt. Governor Daniel J. McKee, municipal leaders, the Rhode Island League of Cities and Towns, and municipal police, fire and rescue personnel today called on the General Assembly to pass legislation that would enable cities and towns to establish Regional Emergency Communication Districts (RECDs).

The group spoke at the State House in support of Senate Bill 2807 introduced by Senator Louis P. DiPalma. In attendance were Pawtucket Mayor and President of the Rhode Island League of Cities and Towns Donald Grebien; Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza; Bristol Town Manager Tony Teixeira; Central Falls Mayor James Diossa; Cumberland Mayor William Murray; Johnston Mayor Joseph Polisena; Lincoln Town Administrator T. Joseph Almond; North Providence Mayor Charles Lombardi; North Smithfield Town Administrator Paulette Hamilton; Smithfield Town Manager Dennis Finlay; and West Warwick Town Manager Fred Presley, who is president of the City and Town Managers Association. Representatives from Cranston, East Providence and Little Compton also attended.

Under Executive Order 15-06, Lt. Governor McKee is seeking ways to empower municipalities to collaborate and achieve efficiencies and achieve savings that benefit Rhode Island taxpayers.

"This is about providing relief to Rhode Island taxpayers by helping our cities and towns operate as efficiently as possible while maintaining or improving the quality of service," said Lt. Governor McKee. "This should not be seen as a threat - this is an opportunity. Let's do right by our taxpayers and deliver the best, most efficient services possible. The time to act is now."

In recent months, the city or town councils of Central Falls, Cumberland, Johnston, Lincoln, North Providence, Pawtucket and Smithfield passed resolutions in support of enabling legislation that would allow the creation of an RECD in northern Rhode Island.

In a regionalization survey of cities and towns conducted last year by the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, public safety dispatch was identified as the top choice by 13 communities.

Provisions of the legislation:

Under Sen. DiPalma's bill, a planning committee made up of two or more municipalities could study the feasibility of establishing a regional emergency communication district and operating a regional emergency communication center. If the planning committee recommends creation of an RECD, the next step would be for all participating communities to draft an agreement on operational terms and other details for the district, subject to votes of approval. If the RECD is approved, it would be a public body with the right to employ personnel, enter into contracts, and perform other duties.

Media Contact: Erika Niedowski | | 401-222-1445

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