Visiting Judge, Les Hatch, issued a judgement recently which settled a case between the City of Ropes and the Ropes Volunteer Fire Department. Hockley County also was listed as a defendant in the case because it would no longer provide funds to the Ropes EMS and Ropes Volunteer Fire Department without proper receipt for expenses.
The judgment states that the City of Ropes has no ownership interest in a 2000 Freightliner ambulance, 1980 Mack Fire Truck and a 1990 Mack Fire Truck and a Ford F-550. It further states that the defendants have no ownership interest in fire rescue equipment, which includes and is not limited to Jaws of Life, Bunker Gear and Airpacks.
In the judgment, the defendants stated that they deny all the allegations made by the plaintiff and only entered into the agreement for the “purpose to buy peace and end the litigation.”
The disagreement began in 2011 when the city required that the fire department sign an agreement giving effective control of the department to the city. The city refused to turn over titles to the vehicles to the volunteer firefighters, according to the lawsuit. In the fall of 2011, the Ropesville Mayor claimed that the fire department had failed to meet certain requirements that the department had suggested to the city two years earlier. Those requirements included having the fire department report income and expenditures every three months to the city council, as well as a monthly gas log.
In July 2012, the fire department sued the City of Ropesville for breach of contract.
Volunteer firemen plan to build a fire station for the vehicles. There has also been discussion about reviving the town’s ambulance service. They will have to raise funds to build the new station. Currently the vehicles are parked at various volunteer firemen’s residence.