Southeast Bullitt Fire sells 3 of its properties
The sale comes three years after a WDRB investigation into the department's spending under former chief Julius Hatfield.
SHEPHERDSVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Southeast Bullitt Fire Department has sold three of its properties, and it didn't take long.
"They put up a sign up like a week ago, and someone bought it," said Wayne Hardison, who lives near one of the properties.
The properties sold are on on Ironwood Trail, Woodsdale Road and Deatsville Road. This comes nearly three years after a WDRB News investigation, which looked into the department's spending.
The Ironwood Trail and Woodsdale Road locations were basically used for storage.
"The two other buildings we outgrew," said Tommy Leach, Board Chairman of the Southeast Bullitt Fire Corporation. "The trucks ... we had to modernize ... because they were too long."
In 2014, the department had five full-time employees and six fire stations. Two are used for storage. Former embattled fire Chief Julius Hatfield ended up resigning.
Leach said the sale is part of the corrections still being made from Hatfield's tenure.
"I believe this property is probably one of the last things we have to correct," he said. "We're up, we're running good, we're working good with the district board. Our volunteer membership is up.
"Two of the properties were original in the early 80s. But this property, no, we should not have purchased 28 acres to build a three-acre fire station."
The department says it's getting $150,000 for 24 acres on Deatsville Road, but it's keeping the firehouse.
"This is probably our last boat anchor we have to get rid of," Leach said.
The department first sold its location on Ironwood Trail. It was listed at $55,000. There was a bidding war, and it sold for $65,100.
"The other buildings that sat empty, they were costing taxpayer money," said Chief Erik Butler , adding that the department was still paying insurance, mowing the properties and paying for upkeep without getting any return from them.
The Fire Department first sold its location on Ironwood Trail. It was listed at $55,000. Southeast Bullitt Fire says there was a bidding war, and it sold for
The smaller Woodsdale Road property with two bays just closed for $28,000.
"The reason why it wasn't sold sooner is because we wasn't getting money from the old district board," Butler said. "If we sold it, I was afraid the money wasn't going to go (to) what it was intended to go for."
With just over $243,000 from the property sales, the department plans to use some of the money to build a small two bay firehouse off KY 480 this fall or early next year.
"My biggest concern would be my money they are getting from this," said Hardison, adding that he wants to see it "work their way to the taxpayer and maybe cut taxes in the future."
"I think that'll be fair," he said.
Butler said a new firehouse will lower resident's insurance rates by having a fire department within five miles from their home.
"If the citizens need one, I'm all for it," Hardison said. "But if it's not necessary, I hate to see them spend taxpayer money that maybe we can use for education or something."
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