AVOCA, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The Avoca Fire and Rescue Department requested the Benton County Quorum Court to call a special election to increase its fire dues from $50 to $125.
“There’s quite a bit that needs to be purchased and $50 a household is not cutting it anymore,” said Nanette Barnes, firefighter and secretary-treasurer for the Avoca Fire and Rescue department.
She says the Fire and Rescue Department’s board of directors decided $125 would be a good number.
“After going through our budget, finding out what we need and what’s going to cost us in the next few years, that $125 is the number that we need per household,” Barnes said.
The fire dues haven’t increased since 2007 and are no longer sufficient for the Avoca Fire & Rescue department to provide safe and adequate protection in its service area according to the Avoca VFD Resolution and Ordinance Calling Election.
The Fire and Rescue Department would use the money to pay for gear for each firefighter, fuel insurance, truck maintenance and more.
Barnes says increasing the dues would be good for the community.
“It sounds like it’s a lot of money, but it’s really not in the long run for the residents’ safety,” Barnes said.
Avoca resident Lynn Jordan says the increase is important and he wouldn’t mind if it’s helping firefighters.
The department is also looking to get grants to help pay for the items it needs.
“We’ve gotten some bunker gear through grants in the last couple of years. We’ve got a grant for water that we received from Anheuser-Busch,” Barnes said.
She also says the fire and rescue hosts fundraisers.
“We just did a cornhole tournament where we raised some money, but it’s a drop in the bucket for what we need,” Barnes said.
The Benton County Quorum Court will meet on Oct. 26 to decide if this fee increase will be on the ballot for voters in March.