High fire danger & low budget is proving to be tough on Salina fire crew

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Reported by: Morgan Downing
Updated: 2/18 10:44 pm Published: 2/18 10:39 pm

The high fire danger is mixing with budget cuts.

The Mayes county fire department is working through it all with less funding.

Salina firefighters have to make do with less because the city is out thousands in tax dollars.

FOX23 went to Salina where firefighters are making the best of what they have.

In Salina, the city has seen a dip in sales tax dollars so to trim the budget the first thing to be hit was this volunteer fire department.

Just like all fire departments in Oklahoma, the Saline volunteer fire department runs off sales tax.
But in this small town the sales tax dollars just aren't here.

FOX23 spoke with the Salina Mayor Mike O'Rourke, who told us, "We found ourselves in a predicament to where sales tax just wasn't coming in like it was."

Mayor Mike O'Rourke told FOX23 the city is lacking about $75,000 in sales tax money this last year.

Now, their public service is feeling the pinch.

"We definitely have suffered with the loss of the money," said Jackie Ball.

The city has been giving this fire department $850 each month but for the last nine months that check stopped coming in.

"It actually starts affecting you immediately as far as your fuel cost. And we use that to buy odds and end stuff as far as just everyday things that you have to have or something that you break.
[We] Just naturally do anything we can to try to save money," said Ball.

Fire chief Jackie Ball said the department receives some funding through the Mayes County sales tax, which funds departments based on how many calls they go on.

He said calls are up so they have seen a larger check from that source.

But when it comes to buying much needed equipment, the fire chief told FOX23, "our old engine, it's got to go," said Ball.

That's a priority that has had to drop to the bottom of their to-do list.

O’Rourke told us the city looks at the budget on a quarterly basis and as soon as more money starts coming in he said it'll be a priority to get this department their funding back.

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