The powers that be at the BCVFD could have effectively put a real damper on the upcoming state election Tuesday. They demanded in court that the County Board of Election Commissioners pay a fee to use five fire stations as polling places or relocate those polling places, with just weeks until election day.
Judge Roderick Messer ruled against the BCVFD and said that the stations can be used as polling locations, free of charge. Smart move, as the law is quite simple in this matter.
KRS 117.065 states, in part, “The county board of elections shall have the authority to designate as voting places, without cost to the board, buildings constructed in whole or in part with tax revenues. The county board of elections shall designate as voting places only those places which are accessible to all eligible voters, including those with physical limitations and the elderly. The county board of elections shall ensure that each precinct polling place in the county has immediate access to a telephone within the polling place on the day of any election.”
But the BCVFD still disagrees. In fact, they filed additional paperwork in an attempt to have that ruling changed; but the judge has refused to hear the case.
So, it appears as if the voters of Bell County will be able to cast their votes at their regular polling locations next Tuesday, thanks to a few sensible people and after a whole lot of hoopla.
The BCVFD’s grudge is not with the County Board of Election Commissioners at all, it’s with the Judge Brock and the Fiscal Court because of the court’s dutiful attempts to hold them accountable. Since Brock’s election in 2006, Roy Amburgey, the President of BCVFD and Chief Rodney Wilder have threatened to close down the stations on two separate occasions because they “can’t afford to keep them open,” with the limited amount of money that the court allocates in their direction.
Limited. To the tune of $5,640,115.07 since the BCVFD’s inception in 1978. That’s right. Nearly $6 million tax dollars from the people of this county have gone to fund the BCVFD, according to the Fiscal Court, and that figure does not include coal severance money that the department has received over the years.
However, the BCVFD contends that they aren’t funded by tax dollars.
They apparently aren’t looking for advice or have rather poor advisors; but if I could just offer this anecdote to the Bell County Volunteer Fire Department: Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.