Trial set between the SE Bullitt Fire Department and Fire Distri - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Trial set between the SE Bullitt Fire Department and Fire District

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB)  -- A new tax rate is still not set for residents of the Southeast Bullitt Fire District. Now, the Fire District is going to trial against the Fire Department, also known as the Fire Corporation.

Judge Rodney Burress of the Bullitt Circuit Court says taxpayers deserve for this fight to end, with thousands of dollars in litigation and no resolution yet.

Attorneys for the Southeast Bullitt Fire District Board and the Fire Corporation board met in court Wednesday. They agreed on nothing.

"We're tired of mediating with them," said Thomas Clay, who represents the Corporation Board.

"One statement that has been made that $700,000 being spent between these two parties is ridiculous is true," Burress said. "This has gone on since 1999, but it's not the lawyers it's you people."

"The board has been fighting with the fire dept and the city of Shepherdsville spending all this tax payer money and nothing ever happens," he added.

The Protection District collects the taxes -- about $1 million a year. It turns over almost all the money to the Southeast Bullitt Fire Department, also known as the Fire Corporation. The plan was to dissolve the Corporation Board in 2017 and have just one board, but that plan is now off.

A trial is set to take place in 60 days. Judge Burress will decide the outcome instead of a jury.

As far as taxpayers, Clay says, "It means they are going to be spending a lot more money."

Also at issue is a new tax rate for the residents in the Fire District which must be set before the end of the month. The state auditor's report showed the district charged the maximum tax rate allowed by law over the last several years with no analysis. That's despite more than $2.5 million reportedly sitting in the bank.

"When the board met on the third, discussion ranged from zero to 10," said Maurice Byrne, who represents the Fire District Board. "My thought, I don't have a vote, I think it's going to be somewhere in between. I don't think they can justify the 10."

The district says it wants the corporation to return fire station equipment and property and show its finances. The Bullitt County Sheriff's Department is still investigating former Chief Julius Hatfield for alleged financial mismanagement while it holds the financial records.

The Corporation says until it can get those, it can't complete an independent audit. The District says it's also conducting one.

Clay says, "I think everyone has kind of put Mr. Hatfield behind them. We're trying to work with what we got here today."

The trial is set for late October.

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