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Residents of Newport fired off questions to City Manager and Fire Chief
Residents of Newport fired off questions on Tuesday night to City Manager Joseph J Nicholson Jr. and Fire Chief Peter Connerton regarding the City’s proposal to buy a sophisticated $1 million fire boat.
Currently, the Fire Department uses a 22-foot rigid-hull inflatable boat from 2001 which contains no equipment for providing emergency medical services.
Connerton made it clear that the department should buy a 37-foot Moose Boat Catamaran that has all the components of a modern ambulance. Additionally, the boat could respond to biological, chemical, radiological, nuclear and explosive device incidents.
Residents are worried that property taxes will rise due to increased operational, maintenance and training costs associated with the fire boat. Since the boat would be protecting the assets of many boat owners in the harbor who are not city tax payers, one resident asked if partial costs could be passed on to them. One example would be through insurance payments if the city does save a boat or conducts a rescue mission.
The general consensus in the room was that Newport Harbor and Narragansett Bay invites thousands of boats each year but the City does not provide any protection for them.