Countryside-River Bluff to vote on North Oldham Fire Dept merger

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By Taylor Riley

After much deliberation, it looks as if Countryside-River Bluff Fire Protection District has decided that it will not sever contractual ties with North Oldham Fire Department and will soonn merge with the department.

Countryside-River Bluff, which serves about 400 Oldham County homes near Prospect, has contracted to provide emergency services with both NOFD and Harrods Creek Fire Department in the past, but decided that pending an audit and additional vote they could merge.

Countryside-River Bluff has no equipment, building or personnel and decided to merge with either Harrods Creek or the NOFD district and dissolve itself, but it has been back-and-forth with both departments for several months.

In the Countryside-River Bluff Fire Protection District Board meeting in January, both departments presented their respective departments’ services.

The merger, which could begin as soon as this week, will have a contractual agreement of three years with $30,000 being awarded to Harrods Creek in January 2015, 2016 and 2017.

Property owners in Countryside and River Bluff pay a tax of nine cents to the fire district, but could now pay ten cents because it would be in the NOFD district.

NOFD Fire Chief Tim Conway says the River Bluff area has leaned heavily on mutual aid with Harrods Creek in the past, but after the three-year contract is up, Countryside-River Bluff, which could be in the NOFD district, would not award money to Harrods Creek.

This would be to continue an agreement made with Harrods Creek to make up for money the Jefferson County department would lose from not being contracted to Countryside in future years.

“We just want to respond as quickly to the community as possible,” Conway said.

Also as a part of the contractual agreement, a member of the Countryside-River Bluff community will be allowed to serve on the NOFD Board of Trustees.

Countryside-River Bluff Board Chairman John Marstiller said during the NOFD meeting that he was “in favor” of the merger and the department has had “fantastic” relationships with the other departments.

The NOFD Board of Trustees voted unanimously to approve the consolidation and abolishment of the Countryside River Bluff Fire Protection District and if the Countryside-River Bluff Board approves the terms and pending an audit, NOFD will be considered a consolidated district.

The NOFD Board of Trustees meets every second Thursday of the month at 7:00 p.m. Their meetings are open to the public.