Lyndon seniors may be hurt most in fire district's budget cuts - News, Weather & Sports

Lyndon seniors may be hurt most in fire district's budget cuts

Lyndon Fire Captain Rich Bliven Lyndon Fire Captain Rich Bliven

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The hits keep coming to Louisville's suburban fire districts and the people they serve. Beginning July 1, 2013 Lyndon Fire and Rescue will be forced to cut three more positions.

The outdated tax code and the down economy combined for more budget problems and Lyndon residents said state lawmakers need to get involved because fire service is not something that needs to be cut back.

The Lyndon neighborhood of Dove Creek is full of seniors and firefighters making their medical runs. Resident Charles Ludwig said of his older neighbors, "Unfortunately, it's a pretty common event at least once a month someone's making a call if not more frequently for assistance."

Besides the Kentucky Wildcats, firefighters top the list of favorites with husband and wife seniors Robert and Olene Miles. Mrs. Miles said of the Lyndon firefighters, "They're so nice and knowledgeable."  "They're all my heroes, " Olene said of the firefighters, "I don't have movie stars for heroes."

Mr. Miles said, "Oh, they've been fabulous every time we've needed them, like when my feeding tube came out and another time I was having a serious lung problem."

As of July 1, budget cuts will eliminate much of that assistance. EMS runs will only go to those deemed most serious like cardiac arrest or serious traumas.

Lyndon Fire and Rescue sent Metro Council members notice letting them know three full-time firefighter positions coming open due to retirements will not be filled.

While fire response times will be the same, putting out a house fire may take longer with fewer firefighters on each run.

Lyndon Fire Captain Rich Bliven explained, "The tax cap for fire protection districts was established in 1946 and hasn't been changed ever since. "

The tax code was originally set at 10 cents for every $100 of property value and the revenue from that old system isn't keeping up with today's operating costs. 

That's a big problem because it's not just Dove Creek that's full of seniors, most of Lyndon's population is older.  Residents we talked to told us they're willing to pay a little more for essential services and they're hoping state lawmakers will step in.

Miles said of the cuts, "It's just a shame there ain't enough money for them because they can't work for nothing."

A few years ago, lawmakers tried to get a referendum to raise the tax two cents, but it didn't get very far in Frankfort.

WAVE 3 News contacted State Representative Julie Raque Adams who was elected later in 2011.  She said she would be glad to help if she could stating, "I'm committed to working with Lyndon and the rest of the suburban fire districts to determine the appropriate way to address their budgetary challenges while ensuring the delivery of the outstanding service they provide to our families and neighbors."

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