On Tuesday, Shell Knob voters narrowly approved a 10-cent tax levy increase for the Central Crossing Fire Protection District (CCFPD).
Barry County voters cast 138 "yes" votes and 129 "no" votes. In Stone County, the issue received 49 "yes" votes and 46 "no" votes.
According to Sandra Wilson, CCFPD director, the increase in revenue will be used to purchase equipment and fund training.
Currently, CCFPD uses a large portion of its budget to maintain and repair older emergency vehicles and equipment. The average age of the district's vehicles is from 12 to 36 years and the average age of personal protective equipment and self-contained breathing apparatus is 10 years.
"The engines and tankers used to fight structure and building fires average 28 years," said Wilson. "One-third of the personal protective equipment is 10 years old and the remaining is well over 10 years.
"Safety of the volunteers is of the utmost importance to the district," said Wilson. "Old safety gear and vehicles can pose a safety hazard to our volunteers. Our desire is to provide the best and most modern equipment to protect our most precious assets."
The CCFPD Board also plans to provide $10,000 per year for medical first responder equipment and training.
The approved 10-cent tax levy increase will provide CCFPD with approximately $82,000 in additional revenue each year.