WARWICK, R.I. (AP) — A Superior Court judge has offered to appoint a mediator to help the Central Coventry Fire District and the firefighters union negotiate a budget for the financially troubled district.

The Providence Journal reports Judge Brian P. Stern said Tuesday that meaningful negotiations are needed between the union and the board of directors if a realistic budget can be negotiated.

The district has been in receivership, a form of bankruptcy, since October 2012. The board is scheduled to present a new budget to Central Coventry voters on Oct. 21.

Fred Gralinski, president of the fire district board of directors, said running the district under the current contract with the union and paying the district's debt would result in an annual $7.2 million budget. Voters rejected a budget of $6.3 million in March.

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