Duncan Mayor discusses plans for helping police and fire departments after sales tax failed

Duncan Mayor discusses plans for helping police and fire departments after sales tax failed
(Source KSWO)
(Source KSWO)

LAWTON, OK (KSWO)- On Tuesday, voters in Duncan rejected a 1% sales tax that would have helped the Duncan Police and Fire Departments. The city said they expected the sales tax to pass and now they're discussing some options that would help officers and firefighters.

If the Public Safety Sales Tax would have been approved by voters it would have made several upgrades to the Duncan Police Department as well as Fire Station Number 3. It would have started construction on building a new fire station.

Mayor Ritchie Dennington was disappointed about the sales tax failing.

"I was very disappointed. The officers and the fireman had worked so hard to get the word out and fought for it and for it to go down, by only 53 votes was  was disappointing. You'd almost rather be be beat worse than that. But yeah, it was disappointing," said Dennington.

Dennington said there are not plans set in stone on what they will do next, but they have started discussing different options.

"We could look at running the tax again for less. We could look at surcharges on utility bills. There's nothing in the works that were just flat going to do a. We will poll the citizens. Hire someone to come in and get a feel for what the community wants," said Dennington.

The tax would have generated $3.5 dollars for hiring and retention. Three new officers would have joined the police force getting new vehicles. The fire department was planning to hire five new firefighters.Both departments also wanted to replace there outdated equipment.

"They're getting kept away from their families and it just creates a morale problem and these guys get out there and fight good. They fight the good fight every day, but you grow weary of the good fight from time to time and we're very proud of how they're doing and we want to do better for them," said Dennington.

Dennington said some people did not favor a permanent tax and wanted it to roll off in five years.

"Well, if you're hire permanent people, the tax can't roll off, you know, it's, it's, they would be temporary then and, and their jobs would hinge on that being renewed every time and you can't, uh, you can't run a business that way," said Dennington.

Dennington said they're going to continue to educate people in the community about the importance of getting these upgrades for the police and fire department. He said any feedback is greatly appreciated because they wanted to do what's best for the city.

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