Sales tax vote to help Duncan Police and Fire Departments

(Source KSWO)
(Source KSWO)

DUNCAN, OK (KSWO)- Changes could be coming for those of you in Duncan. Next month, voters will decide on a one-percent sales tax. It'll help support the Police and Fire Departments hire and train new officers, buy new equipment and build a new home for Fire Station Number 3.

Fire Station Number three was built in 1964 and has simply out lived it's usefulness.

"We've gotten bigger as department. So it doesn't quite accommodate all of our needs anymore. One problem in particular is that it is built in a flood zone. So every time that we have a large amount of rain we have water. Which comes through the front door of the station, which is the internal problems for the mold that we have" said Evans.

The flooding caused the department to purchase a trailer 2 years ago to make ends meet.

"So the problem that comes with the trailer house is is not attached to the building. So every time we have a call we have to run outside and down the steps and into the bay. So obviously if it's raining, hailing or whatever that's a problem," said Evans.

If the vote is passed by voters, the money would be used to build a new station, purchase new equipment, and hire more firefighters. They have about 3 men on staff at station number 3 but their hoping to change that number.

"It's harder because we do get lots of medical calls. We do run more calls than any of the other stations. We have a growing population in this area. Car wrecks the highway right here and then we have the bypasses in our district as well. So more people would take some of the stress and workload off of us," said Evans.

The need for more officers, and updated equipment is very similar at the Duncan Police Department.

"First of all we haven't been at full staff when I talk about full staff certified officers and probably about six to seven years. We've been down. We've been much lower. We are now but we have a total allocation of 48. We had moved 48 in the at least at all. So that's one of the major things is to fill those empty spots," said Ford.

Ford said being short staffed can be challenging on his department when it comes to responding to calls. In the past 8 years their budget has been cut in half.

"So that's those are areas that are critical once we start losing our training and we start losing our quality of office or in our responses are not what they should be," said Ford.

The money would also be used to increase the patrol security at the lakes, hire more dispatchers and bring in more equipment for the communications department and officers. Without these upgrades the job can tough on the officers who protect and serve.

"Yeah I mean we run a Limited staff at any given time there may be four patrol officers on any shift patrolling the city of Duncan so yeah We were run thin sometimes," said Atkinson.

By voting in favor of the one percent sales tax, the Duncan Police and Fire Department are hoping for a new change.

"It's Just those kinds of things that allow us to to better do our job in a safe and effective manner so we can better serve our community," said Atkinson.

The special election will be held on February 13. The city and both departments are working to hold meetings for the public to attend so they can ask questions about the sales tax and share their input. They have also created a Facebook Page called "Public Safety Sales Tax-City of Duncan" to update, and inform the community about what's going on.

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