NW Harris County could see sales tax increase

March 19, 2013 4:00:52 PM PDT
If you shop in one particular part of northwest Harris County, you could end up paying a little bit more. The Cy-Fair Volunteer Fire Department wants to increase the sales tax in its service area, and the chief says there's a good reason for doing so.

The area of northwest Harris County is booming. About 414,000 people live in Cy-Fair VFD's service area. They handle more than 30,000 calls per year and they're just trying to keep up with the demand.

The strain on the Cy-Fair Volunteer Fire Department was apparent Tuesday as a driver crashed through a tailor's shop off Highway 6 and Clay Road. The closest available ambulance was not dispatched from the nearest fire station, but came from nearly 10 miles away.

Cy-Fair VFD Chief Joe Davis explained, "We had a number of our ambulances out. As the south side gets a real strain, they'll pull from the north side to go assist them."

Chief Davis says his department is struggling to keep up with population growth in northwest Harris County. It's asking voters in May to approve a one cent sales tax increase in areas it serves.

"This area continues to grow at a rapid rate, in such a way that we have no additional revenue streams," he said. "It's becoming more difficult for us to keep the standard of service that we currently are providing."

Cy-Fair VFD serves 155 square miles of unincorporated northwest Harris County. The increase would mean an extra $6 million annually for the department. Chief Davis says the funds would be used to renovate its existing 12 fire stations and build five new ones in the area over the next seven years.

Those who need help no doubt would support such an increase. Whether everyone else will is yet to be decided.

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