KLEBERG COUNTY, Texas — At El Tapatio restaurant in Ricardo, travelers from up and down Highway 77 go to get a good meal. When customers pay for that meal, they're only paying 6.75 percent in taxes.
Kleberg County Judge Rudy Madrid said that increasing the amount could be beneficial for the economy.
"The state gets their 6.25 percent no matter what. So that means we're only getting 0.5 percent. We're getting half a penny," Madrid said. "Kleberg County citizens are only getting half a penny out in Ricardo and Riviera. If we increase this to 8.25 percent, where it's supposed to be, now we get one and a half pennies."
On the Nov. 4 ballot, Kleberg County residents are being asked to vote on a ballot measure that would bring the sales tax up to 8.25 percent in the county. Early voting is already underway, and we asked one of the voters about whether they were in favor of that tax or not.
"I would vote against it. Let me go do that right now," Kleberg County resident Juan Saucedo said.
Madrid said the county is missing out on about $250,000 each year because of the current sales tax rate. He said that money could have been put to good use in the past and definitely would be used to help fund various county projects.
Madrid said he'd like to use some of that extra sales tax money to pay for things like a new fire station in Ricardo, or maybe one over in Riviera.
"I've got to go through - I've actually got to move it and wiggle it.," Brandon Harris, Ricardo Volunteer Fire Chief said about the door in his firehouse. "These here are our garage door openers. Unfortunately, all of them but one is working."
Harris tried to open up the huge bay door to the fire house, but they're very difficult to open, especially in an emergency. The fire house was built before 1950 and needs all kinds of repairs.
"If you look at it here behind us, it looks like it's in pretty good shape right? But we get inside and show you. The roof needed to be replaced, I don't know, for about 30 years now, and it cost more than what the building is worth. So, the insurance won't even touch us on that. The building itself leaks everywhere, and everywhere you can think of (and) in places you don't think it could."
Chief Harris offered to give any voter out there a tour of the fire house to see just how bad things are. He's also hoping the tax measure passes because his department desperately needs financial help, so it can always be able to respond to the next emergency.
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