Pike County’s top official allocates half of salary to fire departments

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Pike County Deputy Judge-Executive Brian Morris announced Tuesday that he will donate half of his salary — $34,124 — to the Pike County volunteer fire departments.

During Tuesday’s special meeting of the Pike County Fiscal Court, Morris made a request that the court allow him to do that. The motion was approved by the court, and it was passed unanimously.

“In the 2016-17 budget year, I made the decision to donate half of my salary back to the court to offset our budget, hoping it would save a county job somewhere,” Morris told the News-Express Friday. “Looking back on that, I can tell you with most certainty that it did save at least one job in the county.”

Morris said he examined the budget for the next fiscal year and determined that the general fund would not require a boost, but other departments might be more in need of the funds.

“For this fiscal year, we’ve done a lot of good work in getting our expenditures in line with the revenue. So the portion of my salary I had given to the general fund wasn’t needed there anymore. I started looking to where the money could be used,” Morris said. “Two departments came to mind: Senior citizens and the fire departments.”

Morris said he sat down with the director of the senior centers and was informed that their budget was more in line this year, thanks to the bingo program. Morris decided the fire department would benefit more from the extra funding.

“The fire department is the department that calls the judge’s office more, on a daily basis, needing additional financial assistance,” Morris said. “Once you break it up over 22 locations, you’re not talking about a whole lot of money per location, but it will help them. Their day-to-day operations are based upon donations from the community.”

He said the decision to allocate part of his salary isn’t a personal move, but a community move. He said the volunteer fire department deserves as much funding as possible.

“The work these volunteers provide to their community has helped lower the residents’ homeowners insurance,” he said. “These volunteers put their lives on the line every day to serve their communities, and I just feel that it’s a very worthwhile organization and they need as much assistance as they can get.”