Warrenton fire chief says truck failure highlights the need for additional tax funding

Missouri

WARRENTON, Mo. – The Warrenton Fire District was down to one rescue pumper and it was broken down for hours on Monday after the truck’s radiator blew.

Fire Chief Anthony Hayesslip said the department is struggling and they need a rescue. The rescue pumper has been repaired but the fire chief fears this could happen again.

“So, with this truck going down this morning was a scare for us, cause the last time it went down, we were without of the truck for seven days until we got it back in service,” Hayesslip said.

The rescue pumper was repaired within hours.

The chief said the district is struggling financially and it’s been one thing after another.

The Warrenton Fire District has sold multiple fire trucks and retired two other vehicles trying to save the department.

Voters multiple times have turned down tax proposals. The department has not had a tax increase in 20 years.

“We started using reserve money that troubled us a little bit, increased cost of operations, everything else we went for tax increase 2014, failed 2016, failed 2018, 2020 failed,” Hayesslip said. “Operational expenses have increased more than the increase of revenue that they bring in and over several years our operations costs are outpacing our tax revenue, so we need a tax increase.”

Junge Stan, a Warrenton resident, watched his home burn in February.

“I got back home, sat down and was going to eat dinner, and heard some popping and happened to look up and seen the fire was in the celling,” he said. “We called 911 and got out.”

Stan said although fire crews responded quickly to his home, his home could not be saved.

“It’s a clear reminder that first responders put their lives on the line every day,” he said.

Stan wants to make sure crews have the tools they need.

“It all goes to these guys,” he said. “If you are out there, you watch these guys if you are out there. You watch these guys in 10-degree weather putting fire out on your house, you’ll understand what that halo cent really means.”

The tax proposal will be on the ballot again this April 6, 2021.

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