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Submitted by Tim Graham
PRESS RELEASE – – In an effort to address an aging fleet of fire trucks and an outdated fire station that was not designed to house, newer, larger fire-fighting vehicles, the Memphis Fire Department will be asking voters at the August 2, 2022 election to support a 1/2 cent sales tax in the City of Memphis. This initiative will appear as Proposition #1 on the ballot.
The fire department’s newest fire truck is now 14 years old, with the oldest in service for four decades. Many of the trucks date back to the 1990s, with an average age for the fleet of 25 years. Even when funding is available to try to replace one of these older vehicles, the department is greatly limited in its options because of the size constraints of the current fire house (which was constructed in 1974 by the volunteer firemen). The overhead doors stand just 8’ 10” in height. The ability to expand those truck bays and entrance/ exit openings is greatly limited by the fact that the trucks are housed in the basement of the fire station, with the second story of the structure offering extremely limited ability to increase the clearance height. The available inventory of used fire trucks as well as any new vehicles the fire department might consider purchasing simply will not fit in the existing fire station, as these vehicles’ minimum clearances start at 9’ 6” and only get taller.
The fire department is also faced with aging equipment, requiring regular maintenance. Certification of that equipment, combined with the truck/building limitations offer substantial financial challenges, which has ultimately led to this tax levy issue to help address:
1. The need for newer/upgraded trucks
2. The need for a fire house with taller doors to house these trucks
3. A budget to support these needs and the costs of providing these essential services
There are 24 men and women who volunteer to make up the Memphis and Scotland County Fire Departments, operating as one entity together. These firemen respond to fires, vehicle accidents, and other emergency calls throughout the year, day or night. It is critical to have the proper equipment to ensure the safety of those in need of help as well as those providing this indispensable public service.
“The one-half cent city sales tax would help address the public safety needs of this community, funding the essential vehicles, fire station, and equipment vital to the volunteer fire and rescue protection provided by this department,” said Fire Chief Tim Graham.
If approved, Proposition #1 would be the first tax increase for the Memphis Fire Department in over 60 years, aiding the fire department’s continued service to this small rural community of approximately 1,700 and the surrounding county population of approximately 4,900.
Please support the Memphis Fire Department with this ½ cent sales tax proposal by voting YES on Proposition #1, Tuesday August 2, 2022.