(KMOV) – Firefighters are warning residents that response times could increase after voters reject tax increase to pay for more staffing.
Voters in Jefferson County shot down a proposed 30-cent property tax increase for the DeSoto Rural Fire Protection District on the April 2 ballot.
DeSoto has the largest coverage area of any other fire department in the St. Louis area with about 260 square miles. They cover the area with five full-time firefighters on duty.
That number will now decrease after voters rejected the property tax increase for the second time.
Fire Chief Paul Mayer told News 4’s Russell Kinsaul, "We're going to lose 3 positions, part-time positions that we currently have. So our staffing will go from 5 per day to 4 per day.”
Fire Chief Mayer went on to say with the decrease in staffing the response times will be affected.
The department uses volunteer fire fighters to staff two fire stations but in the western part of the county, there are times, no one is available.
With no manning the station at a time of a fire, Mayer says there could be about 30-35 minutes before a truck can get on scene.
The district does not have plans to go for a third vote to increase property taxes. They plan to start relying more on volunteers that can afford to work more hours for free.