Letter: Tax renewal finances fire district

Oct. 19 will be an important day for citizens served by the Livingston Parish Fire Protection District No. 4. On that day, voters will be asked to reauthorize the 10-mill property tax assessment that provides approximately 65 percent of the operating budget for your fire department. You will also be asked to extend the assessment to 20 years, versus the current 10-year period. The time extension will allow the department to bond monies at a lower interest rate, thereby accomplishing more with your tax dollars.

It is important to remember this is not a “new tax.” It is the reauthorization of an assessment that was first approved by voters in 1974 and has been reapproved every 10 years since that time.

One mill is approximately $1 for every $1,000 of your home’s assessed value. For a home with an assessed value of $200,000, subtracting the $75,000 homestead exemption leaves the homeowner with a $125,000 assessment. Using this example, $125 would go to the first department.

This is an excellent investment in public safety, and one that helps the department maintain a “Class 5” fire insurance rating that reduces your property insurance premiums.

With the renewal and extension, the department plans to refurbish some existing firefighting apparatus and purchase some additional equipment.

In addition, as part of our evaluation in 2012, the fire insurance rating bureau recommended construction of five more fire stations within the district.

With continued growth across the district will come more demand for emergency and nonemergency calls. Additional personnel and equipment will be needed to meet this demand.

Fire Protection District No. 4 remains committed to the residents of the district and to Livingston Parish to provide the best fire and emergency medical services possible.

Those with questions about the Oct. 19 vote can contact our office, Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. We would be happy to hear from you.

James T. Wascom, chief

Fire Protection District No. 4