YOUNGSVILLE, La. (KLFY) Fire protection services could be at risk for the citizens in the unincorporated areas of Youngsville.
The Youngsville Fire Department will likely scale back on response to medical calls outside the city limits beginning May 31.
Mayor Ken Ritter says he and the Youngsville Fire Department board are adamant that the Lafayette Consolidated Government should step up and pay what’s sufficient for those services to be provided.
“My obligation is to the citizens of Youngsville. If it’s clear to me that we are spending our tax dollars to service the unincorporated areas, that’s where I have to raise the flag and say something has to change,” Ritter said.
Decision two, he says, is to reconsider Youngsville’s contract with LCG for fire protection outside city limits.
Ritter says their contract obligation with LCG for fire support is until November.
“Those services medical related were not contractually obligated to respond in the unincorporated area. For us that’s the first step of scaling back our services to make sure we are only performing those calls that actually are under contract.”
The mayor adds that LCG’s contribution of $71,000 comes out to 3 percent in funding and that’s not going to work.
“Looking forward to November. Structural fires and really everything else that encompasses the responsibility of a fireman; we are evaluating because the contribution from LCG has been stagnant. It’s been the same amount for the past several years while the unincorporated area that we serve continues to grow,” Ritter stated.
In an email to the Lafayette Parish Council chairman, Ritter explains the Youngsville Fire Department board proposes a minimum contribution from LCG of $350,000 as opposed to the $71,000 that’s being given.
“My message to the unincorporated residents that we service, if fire protection and the services that our fire department provides you are important for you then speak up. Let your parish council member, let your parish president know these things because absent more funding in this next contract renegotiation it’s our intention to further reduce services that we’re providing to the unincorporated areas of Lafayette parish,” the mayor explained.
In an April 3 email response, Ritter was told that the parish council is working with state delegation to create a district to bring in more funding.
In an April 19 email the mayor responded that if a proposed tax in 2018 for the unincorporated failed, then what’s the logic behind a newly proposed fire district?
The mayor also stated a new vote for an unincorporated fire tax could be called at the council’s discretion.