ROGERS, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) —Early voting begins May 2 for a few special elections, including one to increase the Beaver Lake Fire Department’s dues.

Right now, people who live within the Beaver Lake fire district pay $150 a year to support the department, but if voters decide to approve this measure, dues would increase to $200 a year.

Chief Dusty Qualls said the department is in need of some new equipment to replace others that are becoming too costly to maintain. He said the increased dues could help improve the response time and reliability of their fire trucks.

“It’s imperative that you make that response in a timely manner,” said Chief Qualls. “So you want to make sure that you have good tires, that you have appropriate brakes, that the pumps work and when you get there to put out that fire, all those things are something that we take very seriously because if we get there and it’s not working properly that’s not what the community wants.”

Chief Qualls said he understands it’ll be a tough decision for families struggling with inflation, but he wants voters to know their money will be going towards protecting the community, which will be his top priority even if the measure fails.

“We’re not going to fail them if it doesn’t pass,” said Chief Qualls. “That’s just the way it’ll be and we’ll keep moving forward.”

Right now, the station only has one full-time firefighter. The rest are part-time and work rotating 12-hour shifts.

Chief Qualls said Beaver Lake is getting busier, and there’s been an increase in traffic for the fire district from Hobbs State Park visitors. So, if voters choose to increase their dues, he said it’ll help them get more staff to keep up.

Election Day is May 9.