Volunteer Firefighters Ask Community for Help

By: Dara Rees Email
By: Dara Rees Email
An eastern Kentucky volunteer fire department is asking for help from the community to stay afloat. Fire fighters from the West Knox Volunteer Fire Department are suggesting a 50 dollar tax from all property owners they serve, but they are letting people in the community voice their opinions first.

The firefighting gear of former Dorchester Fire Chief John Vernon displayed at his funeral Tuesday.

An eastern Kentucky volunteer fire department is asking for help from the community to stay afloat. Fire fighters from the West Knox Volunteer Fire Department are suggesting a 50 dollar tax from all property owners they serve, but they are letting people in the community voice their opinions first.

Officials say the 50 dollar tax would apply to about 1,400 land owners in Knox and Laurel counties, and some elderly and disabled people would be exempt. The public meeting was meant to inform the community, but some people were still uncertain about the tax.

Deputy Chief Darryl Baker says without some kind of help, the fire department would be lucky to stay open another two years.

"Over the past six years, we've been going in the red a little bit at a time. This last year was worse because, well it's the same for everybody. Not as many people donate freely because they can't," says Baker. He says if the fire department were to close, insurance rates could go up at least $500 per home in the community, and response time to emergencies would be longer.

Rick Lunsford supports the tax and says, "Without them, there would be a lot more accidents that go unattended for more period of time, somebody be trapped in a home burning."

A lot of the people in this room say they are against the $50 tax, but did not want to speak on camera, but they told me they do not want the tax added to their property tax, and some of them say they just don't have the money this time of year.

Jimmy Powell says 50 dollar a year is worth it. He says his uncle's home caught fire on Valentine's day and the west knox fire crew was on the scene in minutes.

"They never know the feeling of that seeing the flames rolling out of the house, what a gut wrenching feeling that is. So yeah, we're in favor of it. You bet," says Powell.

"There's 34 of us guys and the last thing we want to happen is have the fire department close. We're going to do everything we can to keep that from happening", says Baker.

Many of the people opposed to the tax say they would rather give a donation to help the fire department. There is another meeting Saturday February 21th at 3:00 at the Knox Association of Baptists building in Gray for people to voice their opinions and learn more about the proposed tax.


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  • by Bill on Feb 23, 2009 at 04:41 AM
    May I ask why?? we pay taxes out the {-} and what do we get.whole communitys asleep while no one watches or cares.No instant response,because they have get out of bed and make it to a fire station first.Why are we not paying full time fire fighters to be on duty 24-7.Why are not advance enough to do this.We pay out billions in taxes, and can never see where they are spent,or what happens to our money.we have thousands on unempolyment,SSI,state aid,food stamps and haeat aid.Hunderds of social workers,thousands of cops getting fat at the local dinner,all being paid for nothing.Why not use them.It dumb as dumb gets.
  • by ex firefighter, present councilman Location: Kentucky on Feb 22, 2009 at 11:08 AM
    Mr. BigEvil, Mr. john q taxpayer, Mr. hevry, Mr. Bill, You guys sure sound like some real up to date dudes. Lend me your ears and I'll tell you a tail of firefighters. My friends, just because the term volunteer is used, do not get the idea that the volunteer firefighters are not highly trained professionals! YES, I said professionals. Your neighbors who are willing to risk their lives, to get up in the middle of the night to go out into a freezing rain, to help people like you and me whom they do not even know need the best equipment available. Their lives are at stake, they are some bodies’ daddy. Equipment, good working equipment is important, fire fighting is not just squirting a little h2o, (that’s “water” to you. It is a science. A firefighter inside a flaming house searching for a possible victim depends on that lifeline at the other end of his hose to be in excellent condition. No one likes taxes, but no one wants their home or family to burn up either. There are some things and sometimes we just have to suck it up and pay the piper. As I said I used to be a volunteer firefighter. In 23 years I can only remember 1 person saying thank you. The firefighter protects the taxpayer; the taxpayer has got to pay a little to protect the firefighter. Like it or not!
  • by Anonymous on Feb 22, 2009 at 07:15 AM
    I do not see a problem with the tax.Is someones life not worth $50.00?Or your life?OR your child's life?What if that $50 kept your house from burning down?It is not that much people to pay for that big of a help.It is like paying insurance to keep you butt safe.Just cut down on all the extra running you do not need to do by wasting gas, or just stop buying a coffee, or a pop a day will pay the $50 to save your live or a family members life, or a home.A lot of counties pay that tax.It is just not that big of a deal.
  • by BigEvil Location: E.Ky on Feb 22, 2009 at 05:05 AM
    I agree with NO MORE TAX!! were is the $$$ at.volunteer is just what it is. Take Firefighters in the Big Cities like NY. The city pays for that not the people. Cause there city and state taxes do that. What if a person don't pay and there home is on fire the fire trucks are not going to come. Its a community truck so anyone can use it that lives in that area right? if not then its city or state owned so let the city or state fund and keep up the tab. OR say if the fire trucks come and put out the fire what you going to get a bill in the mail for services done. The MOB don't even compare to the strong arming that the Local, State Gov. does. Make up taxes as they go and put the hard working people that are trying to make it the right way down in the cutter. I C why so many around here sale drugs for the fast,eazy money. I say ask the state to put the money over. Make a bill up and sign a grant to provide all the local fire department with some cash $70,000 should cover it for now
  • by john q taxpayer Location: east ky on Feb 22, 2009 at 03:28 AM
    25 dollars for dwelling owned, per year.Do not exempt anyone.This way every body gets the same tax across the board and out of state owners have to pay also.Hey Bill if you want to know where all the money is going go look at the horsepark!!!!
  • by henry Location: laurel on Feb 21, 2009 at 06:21 PM
    Liberal,Leftist agenda more tax, tax the air we breath. We need the fire department,not a tax added to our property.
  • by Bill on Feb 21, 2009 at 04:36 AM
    Why _Why=== We pay out billions to folks that say they can't fend for themself. why not use them to help our fire dept.sWe allready pay taxes.Wheres thet money,why isn't it being spent on our communitys,instead of going to Fankfort to be wasted.=NO MORE TAXES

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