Board approves KFD billing

Published 8:45 am Wednesday, September 19, 2018

The Lunenburg County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to approve billing for the Kenbridge Fire Department (KFD) during its meeting Thursday. Plymouth Supervisor T. Wayne Hoover was unable to attend the meeting due to working in the area fire department during the inclement weather brought by then-Hurricane Florence.

The KFD first approached the Kenbridge Town Council about allowing the department to bill in the event of emergencies to fund its services. The department has taken a hit over the past several years due to the loss of donations from generous benefactors that have since died. While a portion of the county and Town of Kenbridge’s taxes do go toward the department, it has not been enough to cover the cost of the department’s operations that used to be covered by donations.

“Right now we’re holding our head above water, but I can see down the road we’re not going to be able to do that,” Kenbridge Fire Chief Richard “Dickie”

Harris told the board of supervisors Thursday. Harris told the council the department would bill a clients’ insurance company for events that use the department’s equipment, such as a vehicle accident or vehicle fire, and in the event of structure fires the department would bill the property owner. State law requires the fire department to bill the property owner directly, but the property owner can choose to send the bill to his or her homeowner’s insurance company.

For those without insurance or calls that turn out to be false alarms, Harris said those callers would not be billed.

Members of the Kenbridge Town Council during its August meeting voted to approve the request.

“I want to thank you on behalf of the fire department,

” Harris said following the board of supervisors’ vote. “The Kenbridge Town Council and you folks both support us very well … I see a lot of fire departments around the state that don’t have the support that we have.” Harris said in August he is not certain of the revenue billing would bring to the department, but anticipates it could generate approximately $10,000 a year.

Brown’s Store Supervisor Mike Hankins commended Harris for taking a proactive approach to supporting the fire department.

“This is being very forward-thinking,” Hankins said about the billing process, noting the decline of population in Lunenburg. “It’s seeing a need in the future as trying to fix a problem in the present, and I wanted to encourage you on a great job.”