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Sales Tax May Help Solve Prescott Fire's Funding Woes

The cash-strapped city of Prescott may turn to voters for help bolstering its depleted fire department.

The City Council showed support last week for a public-safety sales tax, said Prescott Fire Chief Dennis Light.

Staff shortages have forced the Department to cut the number of firefighters at one station and, on at least one occasion, leave a station unmanned.

The shortage was caused by a hiring freeze and attrition. It sets up a tough budget choice for the next fiscal year — hire more firefighters or raise wages while possibly cutting services.

Light said he’s cautiously optimistic voters would sign off on a public-safety sales tax.

“I think there is a number of folks in the community that are starting to understand the complexities of the much of the issues,” Light said.   

It's yet to be determined how much the sales tax would be. But it could end up on the November ballot, or in a special election. 

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Matthew Casey has won Edward R. Murrow awards for hard news and sports reporting since he joined KJZZ as a senior field correspondent in 2015.