Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

June 11, 2013

Fire tax to fund Rush Creek move

Barry Porterfield
Pauls Valley Democrat — A bid approval on Monday means another Garvin County area fire department is making an upgrade thanks to funding provided through a tax approved by voters last year.

In this case it was the Rush Creek Volunteer Fire Department, located in a kind of triangle between Pauls Valley, Elmore City and Maysville, that received the approval during a weekly meeting.

Given the OK by all three Garvin County commissioners was the lowest of two bids for a truck bed fully equipped to help firefighters do their job.

It’s the latest of moves by the department, manned only by volunteers, to use the funding provided by a quarter cent county sales tax to make some big improvements.

“It’s made all the difference,” said Rush Creek’s fire chief, Richard McCarty, about the tax divided equally among the dozen fire departments in the county.

“In the past we relied on the citizens of the community to support us,” he said.

“With this tax it spreads it out over an entire population. Since it goes to all the departments it’s the fairest way.”

With the tax firmly in place, McCarty says it has helped his department with just about everything from paying monthly bills to acquiring needed equipment like flashlights for each firefighter and a truck pump.

Monday’s action included the approval of a bid totally almost $19,000 for a bed to go with a large truck given to the department through a program with the Oklahoma Forestry Services.

The bed includes a fire pump, a 1,000 gallon tank and all the equipment needed to complete the whole package.

“This is a self contained firefighting unit,” McCarty said about bed.

“It’s ready to fight fires. We’ll put it on a 5-ton tractor. This is a bed that we’ll put on that truck.”

It was back in March 2012 when just over 70 of Garvin County voters casting a ballot supported the measure meant to provide more reliable funding for each of the fire departments in the county.

A total of 96 percent of the funding generated by the tax is split equally among the 12 area fire departments, while the remainder goes to support emergency management here.