Barstow residents being asked to support a half-cent sales tax hike on the November ballot to help pay for firefighting services are invited to a Town Hall meeting at 10 a.m. Saturday at Barstow First Assembly, 501 Avenue A, Barstow.

The Barstow Fire Protection District said this will be the first of many efforts to make its case for the tax hike.

Barstow Fire Protection District Chief Jamie Williams will lead a presentation discussing future and current challenges facing the district, a snapshot of the past and more from 10 to 11 a.m.

“The fire district would like to ensure every citizen in the city is aware of the challenges facing the district and how each citizen will be impacted. The City Council approved a resolution to call for the election that ultimately places the future of our fire district in the hands of our residents, which it should be,” Williams said.

This is the first Town Hall meeting the Barstow Fire Protection District has held this year. Williams said there will be many more in the next 90 days.

“While I cannot speak to the past regarding Town Hall meetings, I can say that I am dedicated to ensuring we communicate with our community and provide whatever means necessary to create an atmosphere of transparency now and into the future. I feel Town Hall meetings are a great way to connect with our citizens,” Williams said.

In addition to the challenges and snapshot of the past, Williams will also discuss the past workshops that were held by the Fire Board and Barstow City Council, and how the workshops led to deciding to seek a tax hike.

Mayor Julie Hackbarth-McIntyre will give a message to the community before Williams closes with a question-and-answer segment.

“I think the most important item on the agenda is the question-and-answer session. I encourage those attending to bring their questions so we can discuss what's out there,” Williams said.

If anyone would like to host a Town Hall meeting or smaller informal meeting at a different location, they can email Williams at jwilliams2@barstowca.org.

“The fire service was established by neighbor helping neighbor. That has not changed even with the advancements in technology,” Williams said. “Neighbors meet together and discuss their community, how to improve it and how to work together to solve challenges. That is what our goal of these town meetings are.”

For more information, call 760-256-2254 or visit www.BarstowCa.org.