Kentucky Fire Dept. Biilling Prompts Complaint

The Laurel County Fire Department billed a London man nearly $2,500 for clean up of oil and gasoline after he wrecked his pickup truck.

May 30--A London man took issue with the billing of his insurance company by the Laurel County Fire Department.

Harrison Hoskins came before the Laurel County Fiscal Court at Thursday's meeting and claimed that a bill for $2,480 sent to his insurance company, Kentucky Farm Bureau, was incorrect. It involved a 1999 Dodge Ram pickup owned by Hoskins that was involved in a crash along KY 363.

The Laurel County Fire Department billed the insurance company for cleanup of oil and gas, which according to Chief Rodney Gay could have contaminated a nearby stream. Hoskins claimed the Laurel County Fire Department was not on the scene and stated they should retract their claim with a letter of apology. Hoskins said he only had liability insurance, and the insurance company was holding him liable for the bill for cleaning up the roadway.

According to Gay, the vehicle hit a guardrail headfirst and the guardrail impaled the truck, causing it to leak fluids. Gay said the fire department was present, and they had to build a "makeshift dam" to prevent the liquids seeping from the truck from contaminating the stream. Gay said the fire department had tried to work with Hoskins to settle the issue, but believes it will have to be settled with legal action.

Laurel County Sheriff John Root advised Hoskins that the fiscal court did not have the authority to deal with that issue, and told him it was likely a civil issue. Judge-Executive David Westerfield said he would refer the issue to a fire and emergency services committee, but said the issue was not one the fiscal court dealt with.

Also during the meeting, an ordinance amending the personnel policy and procedures was approved. The changes include a 30 day waiting period for health and hospitalization benefits for county employees, automatic changes to the mileage reimbursement for employees rather than having to go through the fiscal court, itemized receipts are now required for all travel expenditures, and parking is now included in costs covered by the county for travel.

Magistrate Jeffrey Book asked if there would be any amendments to change the 180 day waiting period for veteran hospitalization to 30 days like county employees. Deputy Judge-Executive Rick Brewer said that no action had yet been taken, but it was possible to attempt to change the policy on veteran hospitalization.

In other fiscal court news: -- A budget of approximately $21.2 million for the county for the 2014-2015 fiscal year had its first reading approved. The budget includes $11.3 million for its general fund, $3.9 million for its road fund, and $4.5 million for its jail fund. -- An amendment to this year's budget was approved for an increase of $449,000. The general fund was increased by $370,000 and the road fund was increased by $79,000. This amendment was to ensure the county stayed within its budget through the end of the fiscal year. -- The application for a Hazard Mitigation Grant for East Bernstadt Fire Department was approved. This grant will be used to purchase rescue gear. There is no amount determined yet; this was an approval to apply for a grant. -- Approximately $1.9 million was approved for the county road aid cooperative program agreement. This agreement must be approved annually, and is part of the funding for the county road system. -- Brennan Lane was adopted into the county road system. Flowering Hills Lane, an extension on Rick Johnson Lane Road, a Bakersfield Road extension, and April Lane were also approved pending a survey. Extensions for Hillard Road and J.B. Lewis Road received first approval. -- Magistrates Billy Oakley and Danny Smith were appointed to a committee to assess Mooneyham Lane for incorporation into the county road system. -- Several routine cash transfers were approved. Approximately $858,000 was transferred from the general fund to the occupational tax fund, $278,000 was transferred from the jail fund to the occupational tax fund, $9,000 was transferred from the Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program fund to the general fund, and $250,000 was transferred from the occupational tax fund to the Local Government Economic Assistance fund. -- Bids for road materials were approved. The bids were for various materials such as asphalt, tack oil, gasoline, and pipes. Bids were awarded to Elmo Greer and Sons, LLC, Hanson Aggregates, Lykins Oil, and Foster Supply. -- Christian Sturgeon and Associates were approved to do the annual audit for Laurel County for FY 2013-2014. -- Standing orders for FY 2014-2015 were approved. These orders must be approved annually and simply allow the county to pay its bills in a timely manner rather than processing them and risking late fees. The standing order must be approved by Kentucky's Department of Local Governments before it can take effect. -- Pay rates for employees paid from the general, road, and occupational tax funds were approved. These employees received a pay raise of 50 cents.

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