TROY, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina volunteer fire department has refused requests to take down the Confederate flag flying outside the station house, and county officials are threatening to restrict its funding.

The Charlotte Observer reports the Uwharrie Volunteer Fire Department gets $19,000 a year from Montgomery County, plus $400,000 annually for fire trucks. The department was organized as a nonprofit corporation in 1983.

County commissioners said in a letter this week that they would limit the fire department's funding until it removes the flag. They said they would pay only for fuel and maintenance of the two county-owned trucks that firefighters operate. The county also will replace the Uwharrie name on the trucks with graphics "in support of the county's stance on equal rights and freedom of speech."

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Information from: The Charlotte Observer, http://www.charlotteobserver.com