Shepherdsville approves revise fire tax settlement

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By Thomas Barr

 SHEPHERDSVILLE - Before Bullitt Circuit Judge Rodney Burress would accept an agreement between the city of Shepherdsville and the Southeast Bullitt Fire District, a few alterations had to be made.

On Monday, the Shepherdsville City Council voted 4-2 to accept the amended settlement with Southeast Bullitt that would end over 11 years of litigation.

And, if the agreement meets the approval of Burress, only one fire district would remain in litigation over territorial and taxing disputes.

City attorney Jim Winchell said the major change dealt with the proposed $1 million settlement.

Originally, Southeast Bullitt agreed to pay Shepherdsville $1 million and the taxing district would get to retain property south of Cedar Grove Road. Heritage Hill subdivision would be excluded from the Southeast Bullitt taxing district.

Under the revised agreement, the city of Shepherdsville agreed to pay $20,000 to the fire district as part of the debt incurred for covering Heritage Hills. However, the city would not actually be out any additional money as the fire district would pay back $1,020,000 to the city. 

The $1 million payment would be made to the city over a number of years.

Mayor Sherman Tinnell said the settlement allows Shepherdsville to pay off its debt in the fire department of over $600,000 and it would also provide a way for the city to pay for six full-time firefighters who were acquired through a grant but must eventually cover all the costs of the personnel.

Councilmembers Bonnie Enlow and Scott Ellis voted against the settlement. In the previous vote, Enlow was concerned that some of the city property owners would be relieved of the fire tax but others wouldn’t.

The battle since 1999 has been that the city annexed property that was located in the fire taxing district territories. There are provisions allowing the annexations to occur and for cities to pay a portion of the indebtedness.

A couple of years ago, settlements were reached between Shepherdsville and the Mount Washington and Zoneton fire districts. With the settlement with Southeast Bullitt, the lone department fighting with the city would be Nichols.

The agreement with Southeast also ensures that mutual aid is restored with the city.

In other business:

*Councilman Larry Hatfield said the city should be the ones who control any type of smoking ban.

The Bullitt County Public Board of Health is looking at a possible smoking ban in places such as restaurants, bars and entertainment places.

Hatfield said a letter should be written by the city telling the health department that it should not do such things inside the corporate limits.

“If it’s going to be done, we should do it,” said Hatfield.

Since discussions of the smoking ban surfaced last summer, Hatfield said he has gotten numerous calls from concerned business owners and patrons.

The health board is not expected to take any type of vote prior to May.

*The council agreed to condemn property that is part of the sewer interceptor project.

The Brown property on Harley Drive would be condemned to make way for the project.

*Jim Enlow, vice president of the Shepherdsville Fraternal Order of Police, presented a letter to the council asking that politics not become involved with the police department.

He asked that the officers remain isolated from politics and allow them to do their jobs.

*The council approved taking over maintenance of the streets and streetlights in Hensley Estates.

*A swearing-in ceremony is set for Wednesday, Dec. 22, at 6:30 p.m. at the government center for the new officials. The public is invited.

The next meeting of the Shepherdsville City Council will be on Monday, Jan. 10, at 6:30 p.m. at the government center. The public is invited to attend.