Bardstown, Nelson Co. Fire Depts split after 49 years of joint o - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Bardstown, Nelson Co. Fire Depts split after 49 years of joint operations

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Bardstown Mayor John Royalty says the main reason behind the split is financial and effective July 1, the two departments have 90 days to transition into separate agencies. Bardstown Mayor John Royalty says the main reason behind the split is financial and effective July 1, the two departments have 90 days to transition into separate agencies.

BARDSTOWN, Ky. (WDRB) -- Bardstown Mayor John Royalty says the main reason behind the split is financial and effective July 1, the two departments have 90 days to transition into separate agencies.

The Bardstown City Fire Department was founded in 1806. The Nelson County Volunteer Fire Department joined in 1966. They've been working as a joint agency -- until now.

"The negotiations came to an impasse and we agreed to disagree and we both decided we'd go our separate ways,” said Royalty.

Mayor Royalty says he and the Nelson County Board couldn't agree on a new contract.

That contract ended June 30, and now the separation process begins.

"We want to make sure, yes this is rightfully yours, this is rightfully ours. We've shared this. How we divide it equally,” said Marlin Howard, Bardstown Fire Chief.

Howard says his department will be adding more paid firefighters who will work 24 hours on and 48 hours off. He says residents should expect faster response times.

“The goal is to be able to respond a truck within 2 minutes, out the door for any call,” he told WDRB.

The county fire corporation will remain non-profit.

Both departments will still share volunteer fire fighters.

Nelson County Fire Chief Jeremy Bass says the top priorities for both departments are still citizen safety, fire fighter safety and property conservation.

Bass and Howard both believe the transition into two separate departments will be a smooth one.

"I don't think the relationship is going to be damaged. I really don't. This is not a divorce. I've said several times, this is like two brothers growing up and moving out of the house and you don't want anything bad to happen to your brother,” said Bass.

Some council members asked the mayor to reconsider the split but Mayor Royalty says the negations are over.

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