Lafayette Fire Chief Robert Benoit says once the city-parish council gives the okay on the census count, the state will begin to issue its annual 2% insurance rebates to Louisiana fire departments.
Chief Benoit says Lafayette normally gets the largest allocation. “Our number is somewhere around half a million dollars but that’s already figured ahead of time in the general fund budget for the fire department,” Benoit adds.
Benoit says the volunteer fire departments will receive the rebate money directly. Scott Fire Chief Chad Sonnier says in 2015, his department got close to $100,000. This year, Chief Sonnier expects about $87,906.
Sonnier believes the state lawmakers cut back on the rebate to help straighten out its own budget crunch. “It’s still a good substantial amount but instead of rising its decreasing.”
Chief Sonnier says the rebate helps with buying much needed equipment. “Just in the five years our insurance has gone up and fuel costs have gone up. Everything has gone up but we’re getting a decrease in funding,” Sonnier states.
“It’s an added income for them to take care of the residents of the parish,” Benoit adds.