BRYAN COUNTY, OK--Many Texomans are in shock after the majority of a Bryan County board of directors resigned after a disagreement at a board meeting.
"Do you tax? Or is it going to be your membership dues? Well we can't have both," said Bryan County resident Charles Boucher.
This was the argument at Tuesday night's West Bryan County Fire Department Board of Directors meeting, which ended in written resignations from three of its five members. Chairman Jerry Moser, secretary Linda Henderson and Joleine Reid.
"It was tense, unexpected," said fire captain Michael Dove.
Fire captain Brenton Hall says the debate about how to fund the volunteer station has been ongoing. Should the department collect yearly $65 household membership dues or be funded through sales tax from county residents? He says the board members wanted both.
"I'm sure they were just scared we weren't going to have enough money to operate," said Hall. "But I don't see a need in people paying membership and taxes. They're supporting us by paying their taxes every month."
It was ultimately decided to get rid of the membership fees, since the tax system brings in consistent revenue.
We spoke to a couple Bryan County residents--one who was at Tuesday night's meeting--who say they're happy to just pay the sales tax. They said they agreed the board member's resignations probably weren't a bad idea.
Boucher said: "I'm glad. I hate to see that it came to that. But if you don't realize that those firefighters are your lifeline, it's time you need to get out."
Mary Joe, another Bryan County resident, said: "I would get really short some months. So I think it's a really good idea not to double dip."
Firefighters say they are pleased with the tax system, and there will soon be an election to fill the empty positions.
Captain Hall says the fire department operates on almost $5,000 per month with the sales tax system. He also said the board members voluntarily decided to resign.