NEWALLA, Oklahoma - Newalla is losing more than half of the annual budget for its 16 member volunteer fire department. 

Fire Chief Brian Youngblood said Oklahoma County told him back in May the county would no longer cover Newalla’s operational costs, such as fuel and utilities. 

At 2 p.m. Saturday, the Newalla Fire Station will host a meeting to discuss establishing an official fire control district. 

Youngblood said city voters and county commissioners would have to approve it, and it would result in an increase in Newalla property taxes to cover it. 

Kristi Keener was one of a handful of Newalla residents News 9 asked Wednesday about a property tax increase.

“I think people would probably be OK with that,” she said. “To have better response times for emergencies that happen.” 

Schelese Collins is a stylist at Mane Expressions Hair Salon not far from the fire station. 

“I think we do need them,” she said. “I have clients that you know they saved their house a couple of times, and these people are volunteering.” 

Youngblood said any property tax increase to pay for a new fire control district would be offset by the decrease in property insurance premiums property owners will have to pay. 

He said if Newalla doesn’t approve the new funding source, the fire station will be out of business within the next year, which, he said, will result in increased response times to fire emergencies.