Jackson County fire departments hope voters will pass sales tax

ELDORADO, OK (KSWO) - Fire departments in Jackson County are hoping voters will be able to help fund their operations by passing a one-eighth-cent sales tax.

Eldorado Fire Chief Kevin Hill said a new fire truck is one of the first things his department will replace with the sales tax money if it's passed. Their main truck is almost 35-years-old, so a new one would help them meet national safety standards. Hill said the sales tax is their way of asking for a little help from the community.

"We've been looking at trying to find a way to have consistent means of funding to provide for our fire departments and to be able to replace outdated equipment and provide funds to provide training for our firefighters," he said.

Right now, the the department's budget is around $17,000, and if the sales tax is passed, they'll get $30,000 a year for equipment and other necessities. Hill said they originally looked at a quarter-cent sales tax increase but reduced it an eighth of a cent because they only wanted what was necessary.

"We don't want to overtax anybody," he said. "We want everybody to know don't think of it as a tax, think of it as an investment in the 200 plus firefighters that go out there at the drop of a tone to go put their lives on the line to help you out."

Hill said this is a way for people to give back to the department.

"Everybody has been affected some way by a fire, medical call, vehicle accident, whatever it is," he said. "We're the first call that goes on any of these, and we're going to be the first one on the scene to help you in your time of need and so this is kind of our time of need asking for you to do a little something to help us out."

Jackson County residents will vote on the sales tax proposal on June 26th, and if it's approved, it will go into effect on October first.

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