Two fire departments in Nacogdoches County, Texas are contemplating drastic changes now that the public has spoken and failed to vote for funding an emergency service district (ESD). The former career firefighter who lead the oppposition has now donated $150 to one department and changed the message on the electronic sign that told people to vote down the ESD to one that asks the public to make donations to their local VFD. Here’s more from KTRE-TV:
“It’s kinda a slap in the face, that how dare you ask us,” said Bryan Loudenslager, Melrose volunteer firefighter. “But in the midst, if they have an emergency we’re there all hours of the night. Now that we have an emergency that we need funding, we were unable to get that,” said Loudenslager.
Opponents say it boiled down to one issue. “People are tired of paying property taxes and this was going to be another one of those,” said Nathan Alders Jr. He actively campaigned against the proposal that would provide authorization to levy a tax not to exceed 10 cents on each $100 valuation of taxable property within the district.
The Woden Fire Department is contemplating closure. “We really feel unappreciated,” stated Woden’s fire chief, Rickey Jones. “I don’t know what direction we’re going to go, but we don’t have money. It’s up to the community to decide if they want a fire department, ” said Jones.
In Melrose the plan is just short of a rummage sale. “We’re going to have to sell off some equipment to go ahead and make ends meet,” said Loudenslager. The department owes money on a truck they obtained through a matching grant. There won’t be enough money to pay the notes if a whole lot of money doesn’t come in within the next three months according to loudenslager.
Alders said no one needs to shut down or sell off. “I think what we may need to do is scale aback just a little bit and get a budget and work within that budget,” said the retired career firefighter for the Nacogdoches Fire Department.