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Police investigate Central Bell County Fire and Rescue

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Posted: Friday, August 8, 2014 4:30 am

NOLANVILLE — Police confirmed Thursday there is an ongoing investigation involving Central Bell County Fire and Rescue.

Nolanville Police Chief Gary Kent said the investigation was launched, but declined to give further details on the nature of the complaint.

“It’s just an allegation at this point,” he said. “We are looking into if there is anything to this.”

The organization is a non-municipal, volunteer fire department that serves a roughly 20-mile response area in and around Nolanville.

Fire Chief Jason E. Worsdale also declined to comment on the allegation.

“All I can say is that there is an investigation going on,” Worsdale said.

Cecil Taylor, a former volunteer for the organization when it was known as the Nolanville Volunteer Fire Department, said he believed an undisclosed amount of money is missing.

“They don’t know where (the money) went,” Taylor said.

Request denied

During Thursday’s Nolanville City Council meeting, members discussed the fire department’s finances and management.

Council members denied a request from Central Bell County Fire and Rescue to refinance loans for vehicles. The department wanted to use various vehicles for collateral, including one owned by the city of Nolanville, Mayor Christina Rosenthal said Thursday.

“I don’t feel we should use taxpayers’ money to bail them out of debt,” Councilman Dennis Biggs said.

Councilman Dave Brackmann said he saw previous financial reports from the fire department and its expenses “seemed excessive for such a small town.”

Kent told council members a systemic problem through the years had been the CBCFR’s management.

“There’s a fine line between being negligent and just bad bookkeeping,” he said, providing no further details about the investigation.

If the allegations are true, it would not be the first time the department dealt with missing funds.

In 2011, investigators examined a reported loss of about $7,000. According to previous Herald reports, the investigation occurred at the same as the resignation of former Fire Chief Lucas Reynolds and the firing of Deputy Chief Andrew Gemmell.

The Nolanville Police Department and the Bell County District Attorney’s Office attributed the missing money in 2011 to bad accounting and did not file any charges.

Erinn Callahan contributed to this report.

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1 comment:

  • Taylor posted at 7:14 am on Fri, Aug 8, 2014.

    Taylor Posts: 3

    Perhaps the city of Nolanville would be better off starting their own department so they can handle the finances themselves. They currently pay Central Bell about $20K a year to provide fire protection to the city, while at the same time they pay Capital EMS $50K a year to cover the same calls, and Capital makes money on the transport fees for each call. PD's budget is approximately $317K a year. Councilman Brackman states that the expenses "seemed excessive for such a small town", maybe he and the rest of the council should look into what it would cost the city to start up their own, I'm certain that they would find it to be much more than what they're currently paying for.