A long bubbling dispute in Pope County
has turned into a lawsuit that could have some political implications for a current state senator.
Two plaintiffs, including Justice of Peace David Ivy,
have filed an illegal exaction lawsuit over an increase in fees for people covered by the Crow Mountain Fire Improvement District.
The suit contends fees were raised sharply by a vote of the board of the district, rather than a vote of membership as the law requires. The suit contends more than $360,000 has been illegally collected.
The fee change followed a change of the fire department's status from nonprofit to an improvement district, an agency of government. The board vote to raise fees came in 2012 when Greg Standridge, now a Republican state senator, was fire chief and critics of the increase have put the blame on him. Standridge has put the responsibility on the board
and said they acted on advice of a lawyer.
The Fire Department and its board are named defendants. Standridge is no longer the fire chief.
Here's the lawsuit.