At Tuesday’s Fiscal Court meeting magistrates unanimously approved a contribution of $30,000 to the Russellville Rural Fire Department (RRFD) to help complete a substation to be located in the Corinth community on KY 100 near the airport.
RRFD chief Cheryl Allen approached the court at its Nov. 12 meeting asking for the contribution. She had told magistrates that the department had already obtained $120,000 towards the project and only needed $30,000 to finish. Magistrates were extremly supportive of the project and also in giving the funds needed to help complete it, however, they did not vote that day to allow the contribution due to an idea magistrate Jo Orange had, which she would not share in open court.
It seems that Orange wanted to talk to the department’s board first to see if they would entertain the possibility of allowing the county’s coroner’s office to be located at the fire station off the Bypass. The county has been looking for over a year now for a permanent place the coroner could call home. Magistrate Thomas Bouldin reported at Tuesday’s meeting that the fire department board didn’t have a problem with the idea, as long as it would not have to incur any expense.
The substation project, which began over four years ago, is expected to increase protection in the area between Russellville and Auburn, as well as drop the homeowners insurance premiums for citizens within five miles of the substation.
There was some discussion Tuesday about the contribution and its fairness to other fire departments in the county. Magistrate Orange mentioned it was her understanding that the county contributed to the substation in Chandlers and thought it was only fair to help with the KY 100 substation as well.
“I think substations are very important,” said Orange.
Magistrate Barry Joe Wright, who ended up voting to contribute funds to the Corinth project, had a few reservations expressing his concern for fairness. Wright is magistrate for the Olmstead area, which has its own volunteer fire department. He told the court that the Olmstead department had to struggle for what they had, and have never asked for anything extra than what they get from the county each year.
“The Olmstead Fire Department saved for quite a while to buy a brush truck, one they have no room for,” said Wright. “We’ve got to treat everybody the same.”
Wright said he just wanted to make sure the county would continue their support for all fire department.
Magistrate Russell Poore would be happy to listen to other fire departments in the county if they needed help on a project that affected the citizens in the way the Corinth project would, he said.
“I support this substation project. I do not only support my district, but the county as a whole and this is good for the county,” said Poore. “I say any time we have we can save a life in this county we should do it.”
Magistrate Bouldin noted that the substation was located in his district, but that was not why he was voting to contribute funds to the project. He said he would be more than happy to vote for it even if it were in another district because it was a safety issue and he felt confident spending taxpayers money for safety.
“This seems like a win win situation,” said Bouldin. “This is about public safety and if you can save the citizens money in the long run than its the smart thing to do.”
Magistrate Drexel Johnson supports the substation project as well, however, he wants to make sure the rural fire department knows what they will need to assure it is ISO qualification, which he says is necessary to obtain the insurance drop.