Mo. fire district plans to sell half of its firehouses
The Warrenton Fire Protection District has already sold multiple apparatus due to financial troubles
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
WARRENTON, Mo. — The Warrenton Fire Protection District is selling two of its four firehouses, citing financial troubles.
Fire Chief Anthony Hayeslip said one of the fire stations being sold hasn't been used in years, and the other has fire equipment in storage but no firefighters stationed there.
Voters in the district in Warren County have rejected several tax proposals over six years. Most recently, voters in August and again in November defeated a half-cent sales tax hike that would have generated revenue for the fire district's operating expenses. Some vocal critics have alleged the district is mismanaged and blasted the fire district for repeatedly putting tax proposals on the ballot.
Warren County has a population of about 32,000 residents. The county seat is Warrenton, which is about 50 miles west of St. Louis along Interstate 70. The fire district has 14 volunteers and nine full-time paid firefighters.
Hayeslip said one issue for the fire district is part of a national trend, where fewer volunteers are working for the department. And while the number of residences and businesses are growing, the fire district's insurance costs one year went up 16% while the tax base increased just 2%, he said.
"It's not keeping pace," he said. "Our fear is we're doing everything we can to keep ourselves from going into the red, but it's razor sharp."
The district has already sold a pumper, a tanker and a rescue truck, Hayeslip said.
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