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Small-town volunteer fire department faces funding challenges

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    DREXEL, MO (KCTV) — A small-town fire department is urging its community to explore alternative funding sources.

Sheryl Greene leads a team of nine volunteer firefighters in Drexel, a small town that splits the border of Cass Co. and Bates Co.

Like most rural fire volunteer units, theirs receives its funding through optional membership dues.

Greene says their current funding isn’t enough to keep up with their equipment needs. Their newest truck, for instance, was purchased in 2009.

“We’re needing to find funding to keep things updated and keep things going,” Greene said. “We need a new fire truck, a new engine, to upgrade some older trucks. They’re running but they’re dated.”

On Tuesday, Drexel will hold its annual Fire Board Meeting. There, Greene hopes members will explore other funding sources, possibly a local tax, to keep the crews running.

“Our options are maybe going tax-based by ourselves or merging with another department that’s tax-based,” she said.

If the community takes no action, it could lead to the disbandment of the unit. But, Greene said that is unlikely.

“That’s not an option,” she said. “We won’t let that happen.”

For people living in or around Drexel, the closest fire stations would likely be in Freeman, Archie or Adrian, Missouri, all of which are around 20 miles away.

“It’s just an important part of the community,” Greene said.

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