Tax proposed for volunteer fire departments in Marshall County - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Tax proposed for volunteer fire departments in Marshall County

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KINGSTON -- A week from today, voters in Oklahoma will head to the polls and firefighters in Marshall County are asking for your vote.

They're trying to pass a sales tax that would bring a built-in revenue stream to nearly a dozen volunteer fire departments.

The Kingston Fire Department is one of the ten volunteer fire departments in Marshall County.

"We have what they call one 'combinations' and they have five full time firefighters and 20 volunteers," Kingston Fire Chief James Kuykendall said.

All are supported mostly through donations and membership fees which is $50 annually for residents in Buncombe Creek.

"Right now that's all the money we have coming in," Buncombe Creek Volunteer firefighter Roy Matheny said.

Fire departments say they find ways to make ends meet.

But with an increase in population and growth, covering overhead costs is getting even more tough.

It's why firefighters are proposing a new tax during Tuesday's primary.

"The money will be coming through sales tax so the purchase of taxable goods," Kuykendall said.

Kuykendall says the tax would take a penny out of every four dollars spent. Each penny would be divided between the ten departments.

Kuykendall says the money would pay for things like uniforms, new trucks, fuel and hundreds of hours of firefighter training.

For Buncombe Creek, it would mean replacing decades old equipment.

"We've got equipment that dates back to the 1983 and '84 that needs to be replaced but we're having to fix them up and make due with what we've got," Matheny said.

Another key point firefighters make in their argument is that tourists to Lake Texoma would have to pay for the increased calls they create.

"We do see a burden on the holiday weekends," Kuykendall said.

Firefighters feel it's not fair for Marshall County residents left to cover the tab for piece of mind when lives are on line.

The resolution will be on the June 24 primary ballot.