Rogers County voters head to the polls next Tuesday to vote on bond issues aiming to improve their fire department.
The Northwest Rogers County Fire Protection District says the two measures are desperately needed.
The first proposition helps pay off new fire trucks. The other pays for new fire stations – it’s this second proposition that some people are saying is just too extravagant.
There are three fire stations in the district that are plagued with mold.
Fire Marshal Richard Gibson says about Station 1, “they found slab insufficiencies, roof leaks, deteriorated metal, deteriorated walls. After remediation, we were left with a shell of a building.”
Another station had a small sink hole behind it.
Gibson says these conditions are just some of the problems that make it unsafe for firefighters who now stay in trailers.
According to Gibson, this lengthens response times, as firefighters have to run from their building into the station.
“What we didn’t assume is, when we went back to the station, that there was going to be mold, there was going to be water damage, there was going to be cramped quarters and no place to stay,” said Gibson.
Proposition 2 would cost about $7 million.
The Chairman of the Board of Directors for the fire protection district, Mel Dainty, and board member Robert Moore say that if Proposition 2 passes, taxes would go up and that it would not add any benefits to the current services. Both say they are for fixing the stations and that money left over from Proposition 1 could be used to remodel.
Gibson, however, says these stations have been stretched to the limit.
“They were designed to be 20-year volunteer stations. We’ve now stretched them to 2018 as paid and volunteer stations and our call volume has probably tripled since these stations were built,” stated Gibson.
Those who are for Proposition 2 say it would provide new updated and safer fire stations, while those against it say it would be an extravagant measure that can be fixed without the high cost.
The vote is on April 3rd.
People on both sides of the issue are asking people to get out to the polls and make their voices heard.