At a special called meeting held last Thursday, the Letcher County Fiscal Court voted to rescind a plan created by the previous court to combine insurance plans to cover liability and other insurance needs for county volunteer fire departments. The plan that was approved in November had called for the court to assume the insurance fees for the departments in an umbrella arrangement with the Kentucky Association of Counties (KACO). However, the plan was rolled back at the request of the volunteer fire departments because several fire chiefs said it would inevitably cost them more overall than they would realize in savings.
Letcher County Treasurer D.J. Frazier also told the court that it could not legally assume the cost of the insurance and continue to provide the annual $6,000 per annum stipend that is a line item in the distribution of coal severance taxes by the state legislature. She said state regulations would not allow the dual expenditures.
Letcher County Judge/ Executive Terry Adams agreed that rescinding the plan was the best course of action and said that by continuing to pay the $6,000 from coal severance and an additional $5,000 the court voted in last year, the fire departments would have a good deal more flexibility in managing their financial affairs. The court authorized the additional $5,000 a year stipend to departments in July 2018.
Bill Meade, fire chief at Kingscreek, told the court that the original plan, while well intentioned, had put the fire departments in a bad place because it limited their ability to manage themselves financially. He