I would like to take the time to comment on the Purdy Fire Protection District issue. I have been involved in one way or another with the Purdy Fire Department for over 20 years. I was an alderman when the fire department was turned over to the city and was mayor when we built the present fire station.
During this time we had tried to work out a mutual aid agreement with Monett Rural. We could never agree on boundaries; we thought Midway and BB Highway was a center point between the two cities. However, Monett Rural wanted control all the way to the Purdy city limits. (As they still do today.) Monett Rural's fight against the Purdy District has nothing to do with taxes for Purdy, nor better fire protection, nor a choice in fire protection; it has to do with boundaries for their tax district they are worried about. (Which won't be that far into the future?)
With what is expected from our fire departments and firefighters, a tax district is the only fair and equitable way to fund it. This way all money collected is spent improving the department, equipment, training etc., which is the key to lowering ISO ratings and insurance rates.
I am not a promoter of new or higher taxes. However, when 40 percent or less of the community is supporting a service that everyone uses or expects to be there when they need it, there has to be a better way. The Purdy Fire Department has evolved from the Lions Club as the main contributor to donations, fundraisers, city support and limited memberships. Now it is time for everyone to pay their fair share.
With my six years experience as mayor of Purdy, I have offered my services as a board member to help establish the district and set up the operations should it pass.
My message to the voter of this district is this: let's move into the 21st Century and pass this district! Almost every department in Barry County has already gone to a tax-based district or is planning on doing so in the near future. If you are a Purdy area resident and you don't want to wait for help from Monett in the event of a fire, vehicle accident, medical emergency or other event when you need help NOW, you need to support this issue. We have one of the best trained small departments in the area, let's keep it.