Lyndon Fire warns community of critical financial situation

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WHAS11.com

Posted on March 16, 2010 at 6:18 PM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 16 at 11:56 PM

Lyndon's Fire Chief says his eastern Jefferson County Community has to cut emergency services or find a way to raise money.

And he says he's battling the Louisville mayor’s office to find the right answer.

Chief Rakeshaw is going public.

He's sending this letter to everyone who lives in Lyndon Wednesday that talks about the department’s money problems and gives three options that could fix it.

The chief says he wants a specific option he thinks will solve all the problems but says the mayor isn't going to let that happen.

Lyndon Fire and Rescue responds to over 2400 emergency calls every year.

Each firefighter is outfitted in over $13,000 dollars in equipment.

All of this is part of the reason Lyndon's Fire Chief Russ Rakestraw says his department needs more money or he will have to makes cuts that include firefighters.

Something he says he trying everything to prevent.

In it what the chief says are the departments only options.

Rakestraw is sending a letter out to people living in Lyndon and in it he says the department has three options.

1. Add an ambulance service that would be run by the fire department. By law this would allow a tax increase.

2. Lobby to get a tax cap increase that  was set back in 1944.
3. Make cuts to his fire department.

Chief Rakestraw says he's seen fire districts try for 10 years to get the tax cap raised with no luck and the last thing he wants is cuts to his department.

So he wants to add an ambulance service but he's hit a roadblock trying to get Mayor Abramson's approval.

He said, “we've met with the mayor’s office and they told us they will not grant us permission without that permission we can't do anything.”

With that the Chief says he trying to get the community to stand behind him, even asking them to contact the Mayor's office to support the ambulance option.

We went to people living in Lyndon and asked them what they wanted.

Nancy Compton said, “I'd be willing to pay more tax for the service.  Any option besides losing firefighters works for me.” She said, “obviously if the taxes need to be raised for something as important as that that's acceptable as far as I’m concerned.”

As for Chief Rakestraw, he says he'll continue to fight for what he says is his community safety.

We talked to the mayor’s office and a spokesperson says the mayor is behind a tax cap increase.

He doesn't want Lyndon to add an ambulance service because to do that they would have to say that the current Metro ambulance isn't doing a good job serving people in Lyndon. 

The mayor's office says it is.

 

Chief Rakestraw says the new service would cut ambulance response time to Lyndon residents by 6 minutes.

Rakestraw says he wants the community's input, comment on this story or email him at chief@lyndonfire.com.

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