Residents file lawsuit against SE Bullitt Fire alleging double t - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Residents file lawsuit against SE Bullitt Fire alleging double taxation

Posted: Updated:
SHEPHERDSVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Residents have filed a lawsuit against the Southeast Bullitt Fire Protection District and Department, claiming they were double taxed.

Jamie Weck and his wife Bonnie live in the Heritage Hill neighborhood off Cedar Grove Road in Shepherdsville. But for years, they were paying taxes to both the Southeast Bullitt Fire Protection District and the city of Shepherdsville for fire service.

The Wecks, along with two other couples, filed a lawsuit against the Southeast Bullitt Fire Protection District and Department which also went by the name of Pine Creek Forest Fire Protection District.

"I was mad," Weck said. "I don't like to paying money that I don't have to pay."

Their attorney, Joe Wantland, says his clients have 15 lawsuits like this.

"We found out that we were paying two fire taxes," Weck said. "We were paying a city tax and a fire tax for the same thing and it just wasn't right."

Donna Sharp, Inc. -- known for its quilts sold across the nation -- has also filed suit. This company and other residents say they were double billed from 2008 to 2012. The lawsuits state that SE Bullitt Fire collected property taxes from the plaintiffs without "any authority in law."

"When we found out that in five years we had paid more than 30-thousand dollars in excess taxes, it was quite a shock," said Dean Sharp, vice president of Donna Sharp, Inc.

Jeff Freeman is the SE Bullitt Fire Protection District and Department Attorney. He says he doesn't represent Chief Julius Hatfield. 

"This litigation involves property that is in disputed areas," he explained. "Really what it comes down to is what was inside the taxing district for the fire district and what is outside and when and that's what the court will decide."

At the end of 2011, Southeast Bullitt Fire Protection District and the city of Shepherdsville reached an agreement to settle the 10-year dispute over territory and residents were no longer paying both taxes.

"Certainly we feel like taxing these residents in the district is supported and was supported and we don't feel like the law supports a refund to them," Freeman said.

In 2013, SE Bullitt filed a new legal challenge to the agreement that was dismissed by a Bullitt County judge. However, Southeast Bullitt Fire continued to fight and appealed the judge's dismissal to the Kentucky Court of Appeals. 

Dean Sharp said he remains hopeful his business will get the tax money refunded, "The last few years, survival has been difficult. It would have been helpful. We've had to cut employees to the bone."

Several agencies are investigating the Department and Hatfield, who recently came under fire for making a racist comment. He has resigned as chairman of the SE Bullitt Fire protection District Board, which collects tax money and gives it to the Fire Corporation Board for service.

Despite Bullitt County leaders calling for his resignation as Chief, he remains on the job. Hatfield is still the Vice Chairman of the Fire Corporation Board.

Meanwhile, residents are hoping more people will get involved in the lawsuits saying they too deserve their money back.

Copyright 2014 WDRB News. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2017 WDRB. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.