HARTFORD (KFSM) -- The Hartford City Council voted Thursday (Jan. 14) in a special meeting to split the one-cent sales tax between the fire and water departments.
Half of the one-cent sales tax will continue going to the fire department. Firefighters spoke up in the meeting, saying the department needs to replace outdated gear and equipment, adding that it would need to rely on the county if it does not get help from the city.
Police Chief Keith Dedmon said his department needs money for vehicle repairs. The department has one truck and one car, both in need of repairs.
The motion was passed after the police chief said his department could rely on a combination of county turnback money, which was originally a suggestion for the water department's needs.
That combination comes from:
- 5 percent from the Street Department
- 1/2 percent from Museum
- 1/2 percent from Parks Department
The council was considering splitting the tax money evenly between police and fire departments, until Dedmon suggested using the county turnback money.
Fire Chief Justin Hoopengarner said getting half of this money is better than nothing.
"Citizens should not be concerned of our ability to assist them for any fires or rescue purposes," Hoopengarner said. "We will still be able because of our mutual aid departments around us.”
The treasurer said in the meeting the fire department has about $30,000 in its city account and the police department has about $300 in its account.
The one-cent sales tax has been in place since 1989.
The sales tax had always been split between fire and police departments, according to Mayor James Baker. Hoopengarner said two years ago, the fire department started taking in all of the one-cent sales tax money. The fire department said it used that money to pay for a new building.
The council members agreed they would reconsider the issue in March.
“This little city is just really struggling right now and I believe what we've done tonight is going to help. I don't know how much it's going to help," Dedmon said. "We won't know for a few months.”