The upcoming May 1 election will include a proposed $0.015 sales tax increase for ESD #1, which provides funding for Kenefick Volunteer Fire Department.
Officials with Kenefick VFD and ESD #1 hope to explain some of the reasons why voters might want to support the modest sales tax increase.
“We really need the community to support this sales tax increase so we can better serve them and our surrounding communities,” said Assistant Chief Cody Douzat.
The sales tax increase will not apply to residents inside the City of Kenefick. Only businesses outside of the city that fall in ESD #1’s territory will be impacted, according to ESD #1 President Guillermo “Memo” Gomez.
“The City is already maxed out on sales tax so we can’t get anything from within the city,” Gomez said.
With very few brick and mortar businesses outside of Kenefick but still in ESD #1, voters may question where any potential sales tax will be generated.
“It will come from businesses like AT&T, Verizon cell phones, Amazon deliveries, pipelines, telecommunication lines, satellite dishes and other types of businesses,” explained Klint Bush, president of ESD #7 (Hardin Fire and Rescue). “The amount collected can add up substantially.”
If voters approve the measure during the May 1 election, Kenefick VFD officials are looking to eventually replace some of the department’s outdated apparatus, some of which date back to the late 1990s.
“It’s so expensive to maintain a firehouse. A brand new engine will run from $400,000 to $500,000. We need to update our equipment and trucks,” said Gomez.
Kenefick VFD serves the growing community of Kenefick and the surrounding area. With new home subdivisions gradually adding residents to Kenefick’s population, the demand on the fire department is also growing, Gomez said.
“We are 100 percent volunteer for our fire department. Even the ESD board is all volunteer,” he said. “We have 18 firefighters serving the community and going on an average of 25 calls per month. In addition to responding to calls in Kenefick, we also provide mutual aid to our neighboring fire departments.”
The fire chief for Kenefick VFD is Mike Dupont.