LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - About 50 men and woman, from city officials to concerned residents, gathered at the Church by Christ Jesus. One by one citizen's voiced their concerns Monday night. Several topics such as drainage problems and crime were discussed. However, one issued was on a lot of minds and that was manpower of the Lufkin Fire Department. Currently the department is understaffed by seven men. Lufkin resident Myrick Richards is a captain for the Nacogdoches Fire Department. Richards has worked for the department for over 14 years. He said one of the factors behind his decision to work somewhere else is pay. This is something the City of Lufkin is seeing time and again.
"They come here to get educated but leave to make more money," Richards said.
The Lufkin Fire Department requires their fire fighter to have paramedic training. Richards said sadly the City of Lufkin does not compensate these men for their dual efforts.
Lufkin Fire Chief Ted Lovett said it's a work in progress. "I have done a little research dating back to 2000 and since then we have had 81 men walk."
Lovett said higher pay just isn't in their budget, adding that increasing the department pay would mean increasing taxes.
City officials said they have heard the concerns and they will start working to address the problem. City Council Member Robert Shankle said the whole reason behind Monday's town hall meeting is to hear what's wrong and try to find a solution.
"Overall it went good and we will see how the results of the survey turned out," Shankle said.
Shankle said officials will continue working with the residents on resolving their matters within the next couple of weeks.