(WMC-TV) - A tough economy is hitting one small Mid-South town in a very tough way and officials hope county fire service won't be in jeopardy.
Hundreds of cars pass through Main and Market in downtown Bolivar every day and county officials say if the same amount of dollars were being pumped into the local economy, things would be in much better shape.
"Rural county, not connected to a major interstate or river, we've been struggling to stay afloat," said Hardeman County Mayor Willie Spencer.
Spencer said the Hardeman County Commission has cut nearly $700,000 from its budget in the last two years.
And with only one full time fire department and eight volunteer fire departments in Hardeman county, fire protection could suffer.
"You could set up a fire fee but you can get in the same situation where individuals don't pay fire fees," he added.
In the new budget, the county's nine fire departments get reimbursed $600 for every call they answer outside city limits.
Now, county officials are looking at new ways to help fund county fire service.
"Nobody wants increased property taxes. I don't want any more property taxes than we have to but it takes money to provide services. If things continue to go up, you have to bit the bullet...you can't continue looking at cuts," Spencer said.
Mayor Spencer says that in the coming weeks, he hopes to sit down with Bolivar's full time fire chief and the other volunteer fire chiefs from across Hardeman County.
He hopes they can plan a countywide fundraiser for residents who want to donate additional funding to help curb this countywide financial crisis.