Approximately 60 residents packed a room Monday night at BREC’s Alsen Park Recreation Center to complain about the East Baton Rouge Parish community’s low-rated volunteer fire department.
A rating from the Louisiana Property Insurance Rating Association affects the insurance premiums homeowners and businesses pay.
The Alsen/St. Irma Volunteer Fire Department’s rating went from a Class 5 to a Class 10, the lowest possible rating, in August, and nothing has been done about it, said Moses Evans Jr., who led the meeting.
Evans’ yearly home insurance premium jumped from $2,700 to $5,300 because of the change in rating, he said.
An administrator at the St. John Baptist Church, Elouise Thomas, said the church’s property insurance bill jumped from about $24,000 to around $38,000.
“It offends me that the council knew about this in 2011 and did nothing about it,” Evans said. “The zoo animals have better fire protection than we do.”
Several people in the audience directed their anger at Metro Councilman Ulysses “Bones” Addison, who represents the area but did not attend the meeting.
State Sen. Sharon Weston Broom, D-Baton Rouge, and state Rep. Dalton Honore, D-Baton Rouge, urged residents to take the concerns to the Metro Council.
“This is a city-parish issue,” Broome said. “It would be advantageous if you took this
hue and cry to the Metro Council.”
Broome advised the residents to get a set of ré sumé s together to present to the Metro Council, which appoints the board that oversees the Fire Department.
“See about getting on the council agenda,” she said.
Alsen/St. Irma Lee Volunteer Fire Chief Ronald Hives, who did not attend the meeting, said he was growing tired of the criticism of the department.
“I am getting kind of fired up, kind of annoyed,” he said. “I am trying to help the community.”