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Tax hike could better equip fire deparment

ST. JOSEPH -- Firefighters hope the third time's the charm with a tax hike on the ballot next week.
ST. JOSEPH -- Firefighters hope the third time's the charm with a tax hike on the ballot next week. It failed by just a few percentage points the first two times.

The fire chief says the department needs the money to replace some very old equipment. It includes a "tender" used to haul water. They've had it since 1982, longer than some of the firefighters have been alive.

The tax hike would bring about $116,000 for the department at a cost of about $30 a year for someone with a $100,000 home. The chief says the money will help them do what they do better and more safely.

Another thing the chief plans if it passes: a new place to put all the equipment. Engines are currently crammed in a building that's more than 40 years old. The new one would be built right next door. It could happen as soon as next year.

The chief says if the tax hike doesn't pass, they'll keep working with what they have until they can't anymore. But he says as the equipment ages, it will be more expensive to replace in the future.
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