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Pike Co. budget cuts affect volunteer fire departments

By: Whitney Burks Email
By: Whitney Burks Email

PIKE COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - After months of debate the Pike County Fiscal Court approved a budget plan.

The county was facing a more than $3 million deficit, and the new plan includes big cuts to some volunteer fire departments.

They have been working for months trying to cut nearly 3.3 million dollars from the budget.

"Believe it or not we held 20 meetings in regard to the budget since January realizing that it's going to be a tough thing to do," said Pike County Judge Executive Wayne T. Rutherford.

On Tuesday the Pike County Fiscal Court finally made a decision.

"We came up with a budget. None of us liked it. Not a one of us liked it," said Rutherford.

Eight county employees from various offices were laid off, but the cuts did not stop there.

Some of those most affected by the new budget plan could be the volunteer fire departments.

Some of them could lose several thousand dollars per year.

Each volunteer fire department will lose 500 dollars per ISO rating meaning some of them could lose up to $10,000.

"We are certainly hoping that it doesn't close any of the stations or the substations that we have out there, but it definitely is going to hurt," said Randy Courtney, President of the Pike County Firefighters Association and Chief at Island Creek Volunteer Fire Department.

They have come up with an idea to supplement the loss by adding a subscription fee to property taxes.

The Fiscal Court will have to approve the move.

"If you do $35 then it's like nine cents a day that you're paying for fire protection, rescue and ambulance protection," said Courtney.

They are just hoping people will be willing to pay a dime a day to keep the stations up and running.

The Pike County Firefighters Association has a committee to research the subscription fees and help educate the public about them.

They do not expect them to be any more than $55 per year.


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