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More fees may be a must for Pike Co. volunteer fire departments

By: Whitney Burks Email
By: Whitney Burks Email

PIKE COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - Budget cuts could mean folks in Pike County will pay more for fire protection.

Recent cuts are causing some volunteer fire departments to lose thousands of dollars this year.

Fire officials say they may have to issue subscription fees to keep the departments open.

There are 26 volunteer fire departments in Pike County.

"May not see people at them a week, but they got a truck sitting in there that's ready to respond to their needs so that's why it's utterly important to keep them," said Randy Courtney, Pike County Firefighters Association President.

They are rated by size for insurance (ISO ratings), and they each get money from the county based on those ratings.

But smaller county budgets mean those departments are all feeling the pinch, some losing as much as $10,000.

"With less funding we're going to have to go some other means. Everybody knows coal severance money is drying up. Grant money is drying up," said Courtney.

On Monday night they met to discuss possible subscription fees for the homes they serve.

The fees would be added to property taxes, probably not totaling more than $55 per year.

"If you do $55 it's 14 cents a day for emergency services," said Courtney.

Keeping fire protection in those rural areas will also help keep home owner's insurance down.

Officials say before any action is taken they plan to hold more meetings and public forums to educate the firefighters and the public about these potential fees.

The fiscal court must approve the fees before the bill is added to taxes.

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