Albemarle County and its Board of Supervisors have filed a petition for a permanent injunction and declaratory judgment against Scottsville Volunteer Rescue Squad Inc. to try to stop the organization from transferring its assets to another nonprofit.
The petition, filed in September, comes after the board filed a petition for a temporary injunction and a request for an emergency order in April. The Board of Supervisors canceled the squad’s operations in April and asked the Albemarle County Fire Rescue Division to take over remaining shifts in the area, after the squad struggled to find enough volunteers to staff its operations. The fire chief did not return an inquiry about whether county fire rescue had switched to full-time coverage yet this month before press time.
The first petition and request were taken under advisement by the county’s Circuit Court, and the county was granted temporary possession and use of rescue station property and personal property at the station.
A hearing for the initial petition was scheduled for late September, but ultimately was continued.
The new petition states the county “require[s] a declaratory judgment to resolve outstanding issues of ownership and possession of property, both real and personal,” and that permanent injunctive relief is “required to prevent respondents from causing petitioners irreparable harm by the loss of its rights of ownership and use.”
In the petition, the county writes that SVRS is a dissolved emergency medical services provider and lacks authority to provide those services, and that the county “has not assumed those responsibilities and requires the resources in which is has long invested.”
Attorneys for the rescue squad had not filed a response as of Monday, and did not respond to a request for comment by press time.
When the volunteer organization was dissolved, the squad board’s chairman said it was moving private donations to a different 501©(3) and that they would not give the county the land “to make sure that both of those assets serve the southern part of the county going forward.”
The county specifically cites those comments in the petition.
“Petitioners, as well as the public, are suffering, and will continue to suffer, irreparable injury if the SVRS assets, which were purchased in whole or in part with public funds and/or private donations comingled with public funds, are not transferred to petitioners for the purpose of defraying the expense of providing emergency medical services,” the county’s petition states.
The county states that since 2009, the Board of Supervisors has appropriated more than $3.62 million in direct funds and in-kind services to SVRS.
“To allow the remaining assets to be distributed to organizations, even of a charitable nature, that do not provide the same or similar services to the community would subvert and frustrate the intent of the donors who made the contributions — both private and governmental,” the petition states.
The county, in the petition, specifically asks for declarations that SVRS has been dissolved, that the county holds the legal title of the SVRS land and that the county is the “equitable owners” of all of SVRS’s personal property.
The county also asks for permanent injunctions ordering SVRS to convey title of all property to the county, to turn over all vehicle titles and to turn over all keys. It also asks for permanent injunctions ordering SVRS officers and others involved with the organization to turn over SVRS property in their possession and to “wind up affairs,” file articles of dissolution and file articles of termination or enter orders of involuntary dissolution and termination with the state.