ARJAY, Ky. (WYMT) - County funding could soon be restored to the Bell County Volunteer Fire Departments (BCVFD).
Several departments closed close to three years ago in a dispute with the county over funding. Now contract negotiations are underway to restore the funding.
Firefighters are filling the Arjay Volunteer Fire Department building once again. The Arjay Fire Department is re-opening on Friday.
The Arjay department closed in December, 2011 when firefighters claimed the county did not provide enough funding to operate.
"The past is a door that's shut behind us. It no longer exists. It's just looking forward from here on out. We're excited about the future," said firefighter Bucky Shelby.
When Arjay and other fire departments shut down, Bell County leaders then withheld county funding to the BCVFD because the buildings were closed.
New leadership in the Bell County Volunteer Fire Department Board agreed to re-open the Arjay building and work with county leaders on funding.
"If we can work with the county, and the county can work with us, then it's 100 percent," said Bryan Calloway. Battalion Chief.
The firefighters and fiscal court are working on a new contract that would restore county funding.
"We feel confident we're going to get to terms that will protect the taxpayers in the future so some of the things that happened in the past will not happen again," said Bell County Judge-Executive Albey Brock.
Firefighters say re-opening the Arjay fire department will improve response time and reduce insurance rates for the community.
"We are thrilled beyond words. We need this and we are happy to have it," said Bernadine Mills who lives in Arjay.
The Arjay Fire Department will have a grand opening celebration for the community on Saturday, March 22nd at 1:00p.m.
The BCVFD and fiscal court hope to have a new contract and funding restored next month.
Firefighters say if county funding is restored, they will re-open the Colmar and Brownies Creek fire departments too.