PINEVILLE —After months of back and forth litigation, the Bell County Board of Elections and the Bell County Volunteer Fire Department (BCVFD) have reached an agreement. The agreement was reached just a week before the Kentucky primary election.
In the settlement, the BCVFD agrees to allow the board of elections to use the fire stations as voting places at no cost to the board, for all future elections. In return, the board of elections agrees to return the fire stations used in future elections in the same condition as they were in prior to the election.
“Here we are discussing closing fire stations due to the lack of funding and the (Bell County Volunteer Fire Department) spent thousands of dollars last October and November taking this (issue) to federal court and the appeals court levels trying to stop (the citizens) from voting,” said Bell County Judge Executive Albey Brock. “I’m glad to see that (the BCVFD) finally came to their senses and agreed to let people vote in buildings that they paid for.”
The two parties met in court in October and November of 2011. The main disagreement at the time was whether or not the BCVFD could charge the election board a fee to use the locations for polling purposes.
Prior to the November 8, 2011, general election, Judge Robert Messer ruled in favor of the election board. In April, the board of elections filed two motions against the BCVFD - a motion for a temporary restraining order, and a motion to compel.
The restraining order motion would have kept the BCVFD from denying the designation of the fire stations as voting places in the upcoming May 22 primary election.
The second motion that was made by the board of election was a motion to compel. This motion was made in an attempt to get the BCVFD to produce responses to outstanding interrogatories and to produce requested documents that were requested.
The motions were set to be heard on May 14 before Bell Circuit Court Judge Robert Costanzo, but an agreement was reached prior to the hearing.