In the coming weeks, I hope that the voters of Barry County will consider the implications of voting "yes" on the 911 tax.
A "yes" vote means that no effort will be made to address inadequacies in the mapping of emergency service areas throughout the county, which hinder our fire departments in the pursuance of their duties and render the county less safe. How can they, when the individuals responsible for the errors in the original mapping are now running the E-911 Center?
A "yes" vote means that the Barry County E-911 Board will have a mandate to tax and spend, placing new tax hikes on the ballot, with impunity.
This, combined with the results of the recent referendum on an increase in this sales tax in November, raises the question of whether the majority of Barry County feels the E-911 system is necessary or desirous.
Now we're told that the E-911 Center requires over one million dollars just to keep afloat. If the system was underfunded from its beginning, then what amount of our tax dollars would its proponents consider to be adequate?
Voters should be aware that the E-911 Board is perfectly capable of placing another tax hike on the ballot for November 2012 and every succeeding election -- even if this one passes.
I live down in the "boondocks" on a dirt road broken into short stretches where it connects the ends of paved roads with one another. They run from the Arkansas border to Seligman, and it is very difficult to direct a stranger to the right one.
My beloved 72-year-old husband had a stroke and seizure -- unexpected and terrifying to watch. I was so shaken that I was not helpful to the 911 operator. She called the ambulance at Cox while trying to calm me and to understand where we lived. You just don't know how devastating the situation is and how precious that assistance is when you need it so badly.
The amount they (the Barry County E-911 Board) are asking for is so small; you would have to spend one-eighth of a cent eight times to cost you one penny! So, for our sake, for your sake and for the sake of your neighbors, friends and anyone caught in such a crisis, please reconsider and vote for the tax E-911 needs to survive.
Betty Van Zandt