The Bell County Volunteer Fire Department (BCVFD) has voted to close two more stations. This time around, the communities of Clear Creek and Brownies Creek will lose their fire stations.
Bell County Judge Executive Albey Brock responded to the closings by saying that he and the fiscal court will take action to prevent the closings.
Earlier in the year, the BCVFD closed the Arjay and Colmar fire stations. In an interview about a month ago, fire chief Rodney Wilder told The Daily News that Calloway was another fire station that could close this summer.
In that same interview, Wilder stated that no matter what three stations — Right Fork, Fourmile and Station Number 2 near Page — would remain open because they are all located near schools.
The main reason given for the closings is the lack of funding from the Bell County Fiscal Court, despite the fact that Brock has stated that the fiscal court would assume all cost of operating the stations if they remained open.
The BCVFD has also voted to sell two fire trucks and give one fire truck to Hopes and Dreams Outfitters [Hunting Club], which is allegedly located on Wilder’s property.
Recently, the BCVFD submitted a proposal to the fiscal court in an attempt to resolve the issues. The BCVFD requested several things, including that they (the BCVFD) receive 32 percent funding under a revised ordinance. The proposal stated that ‘“this is the exact amount slated for the fire protection fund under the 2010 ordinance”.
The proposal also stated that they (BCVFD) would provide to the treasurer of the fiscal court, in cooperating with potential audits of the fiscal court by the Commonwealth of Kentucky, any receipts demonstrating the services/costs/expenses on which the BCVFD has spent the insurance premium tax money for the previous one year time period. The proposal also stated that the receipts could be provided anywhere from annually to quarterly.
Ultimately the proposal was denied by the fiscal court.
The two sides are still battling in federal court to determine if the BCVFD is incorporated.
Anthony Cloud is a staff writer for the Middlesboro Daily News. He can be contacted via email at email@example.com.