Jessamine County

Jessamine fire board to get new chairman

NICHOLASVILLE — An unflattering review of the Jessamine County Fire District's handling of certain tax revenues did not enter into the decision to replace the fire board's chairman, Judge-Executive Neal Cassity said Tuesday.

Cassity appointed Dennis Traynor to the fire district's board of trustees, replacing 30-year member and current chairman Gary Sorrell. Jessamine Fiscal Court unanimously approved the appointment.

Cassity said Sorrell had initially asked not to be reappointed to the board, then later asked to be reappointed. Cassity said he decided to replace Sorrell, even though he "has done a tremendous job over the years," because the fire district needed representation from the northern part of the county. Sorrell had been chairman of the fire district board for five years.

In a letter released Monday by the state auditor's office, the fire district came under criticism for commingling tax money collected from a subdistrict in northwestern Jessamine and spending it on facilities and services outside the subdistrict.

Under state law, subdistrict taxes are to be used only within the subdistrict boundaries — in this case, the northwestern corner of Jessamine County, which includes Crosswoods, Windhaven, Equestrian Estates and other subdivisions.

The fire board will discuss dissolving the subdistrict and the subdistrict tax at a meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday in Building E at Southland Christian Church.

Traynor, a Lexmark engineer, has lived in Jessamine County for 21 years. Traynor — who is not related to Bob Traynor, a Windhaven resident who encouraged the auditor's office to look into the finances of the fire district — said he does not favor dissolving the North Subdistrict and repealing its tax.

"I think the tax can be put to good use and I'd like to work to see that it is put to good use," Traynor said. "If things don't improve and I don't see tangible evidence that we're getting the value that we're paying for, then I would stand in line with the rest to oppose the tax. But at this point, I'm not convinced that we can't make improvements in that."

Cassity also reappointed Bill Riley to the fire board. It will be up to the fire district's board of trustees to elect a new chairman.

Fiscal court voted unanimously to send a letter to Sorrell to thank him for his 30 years of service.

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