Coal County voters to decide on one cent sales tax

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COAL COUNTY, OK -- On November 12th, in a special election, voters in Coal County will have to decide on whether or not to renew a one cent sales tax.

Coal County Commissioner Johnny Ward says each year the one sent sales tax brings in about $1 million dollars, money that is dispersed among several county entities.

"We've had our current sales tax for 19 years" Ward said.

Ward says for nearly two decades, the tax has helped fund the senior citizens nutrition centers, the Sheriff's Office, eight volunteer fire departments, the EMS service and the county's OSU Extension Service.

"We've got to have it if we're going to survive," Ward said.

Without the tax, Rodger Wilson, the President of the Coal County Firefighters Association says many departments would suffer.

"We wouldn't be able to respond the way we do now with the equipment and the help, we just couldn't do it. We wouldn't have the funds to operate," Wilson said.

Wilson says the Cairo Volunteer Fire Department receives around $10,000 dollars each year from the tax. He says the money is vital when it comes to keeping their services alive.

"It provides us money to operate these vehicles and buy equipment, tools, safety gear to wear," Wilson said.

David and Shelly Johnson say giving a little to fund the county's services is more than worth it.

"No one wants to pay tax, but we need this. Coal County needs this," Shelly said.

"If I was to have a wreck and we didn't have EMS who would come to help us? Maybe another county? It would just take that much longer for someone to come pick me up off the side of the road," David said.

Tuesday we were not able to find anyone to speak on camera who is against the tax, but those opposed say the county can find a way to survive without it.