Bell County Volunteer Fire Department announces subscriber fee in 2012

By: Greg Robinson Email
By: Greg Robinson Email

The next price increase for folks in Bell County might be to protect their homes from fire.

The Bell County Volunteer Fire Department made an announcement Monday that at the beginning of 2012 they will have a voluntary subscriber fee to their service.

"Single family dwelling, $60 a year, farm with a structure $75 a year, business or multi-family dwelling $150 a year, vacant or open land without any structures will be $30 a year." David Miracle, the Bell County VFD Assistant Fire Chief tells Mountain News.

While the fee is voluntary it could mean a a hefty bill for your insurance company and if you don't have insurance and you aren't a subscriber.

Bell County Judge Executive Albey Brock, who was locked out of the news conference, says he doesn't think the fire department can legally ask for a fee.

"I think that the subscriber fee only applies to fire stations that are considered taxing districts and that's a matter of KRS." Brock said.

We asked if the fire department owed tax payers or Bell County anything for the six million dollars that the fiscal court has allotted the organization since its existance.

Assistant Chief David Miracle responded by saying "If the fiscal court collects a tax, all their funds are taxes, or grants, or from the state, or whatever and they go out and purchases a new grater or a new fleet of gravel trucks to haul gravel, is that company they purchased it from indebted to the tax payer."

That didn't sit well with Judge Brock

"How prudent would I be and how prudent would the fiscal court be to continue funding a group that has that kind of attitude." Brock said.

Judge Brock says the county is obligated to provide fire safety in their community and the county will explore other options to protect its citizens.

Fire officials say the new proposed fee, in addition to closing fire stations in Arjay and Comer, was an effort to make ends meet after they say they were not receiving adequate funding from the county.

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