Baxter Springs gives tour of crumbling facility

By Jordan Zabel
Cherokee News Advocate – July 5, 2017

Photo by Jordan Zabel.

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The City of Baxter Springs gave concerned residents a chance to see up close the numerous problems at the building housing both the Police and Fire Departments. The building is in dire need of multiple renovations and repairs, and the city is planning on making upgrading the facility a top priority if voters decide to approve the proposed one percent sales tax increase.

The issue of the proposed increase has been a divisive topic that has dominated much of the community dialogue the past several weeks. The Baxter Springs City Council approved the resolution at their meeting on June 13, to put the issue on the ballot for the general election on Nov. 7. During that meeting, a handful of residents, mostly local business owners, were in attendance to voice their concerns and have their questions answered. The city is facing a dire financial situation, which they recently outlined in a brochure that was included in resident’s water bill. The brochure stated that the city is requesting the increase to help offset the city’s loss in tax revenue over the last few years. The funds from the increase will be used for improvements to the city’s infrastructure and facilities, but some residents felt that the city’s plan for the funds was a bit vague.

On June 27, Chief of Police Bill Adams and Fire Chief Gunnar Wixon hosted a tour of the Police and Fire Departments. The purpose of the tour was to show residents firsthand how bad the conditions have deteriorated at the city facilities, which barring any unforeseen issues, would be at the top of the list for use of the sales tax funds if the increase is approved.

“It’s the face of the city,” Chief Adams said. “But we all have to retire at some point.”

The tour was followed by a question and answer meeting at 7 p.m. at the new Community Building, as part of the regular city council meeting. Much to the voiced disappoint of Mayor Randy Trease, few residents attended the tour or public forum.

“I’m disappointed about the attendance for tonight’s meeting,” Mayor Trease said. “It’s sure easy to bash us on social media but they won’t come down here to learn some facts.”

Several council members echoed the mayor’s sentiments, as they continue to attempt to reach the community about the state of the city’s infrastructure, as well as the immeasurable value of shopping local and the benefit that could come with spending a few extra pennies if the proposed increase passes.

The final decision will be determined by the people of Baxter Springs, at the Nov. 7 general election.


Posted by Gwen Dorr Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
KSFFA’s Fire News Blog Home Page

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