Lafayette Parish fire officials hope a new property tax for fire protection in unincorporated areas will ease financial pressure on municipal and volunteer fire departments throughout the parish.
A series of town hall meetings are underway to educate the public about the upcoming property millage that residents are set to vote on December 8th.
According to Scott Fire Chief Chad Sonnier, Volunteer Fire Departments haven’t received an increase in funding in nearly 20 years.
The 10-mill tax would generate about 4-million a year for personnel, equipment and other expenses for the seven volunteer fire departments in Acadiana. The municipal departments like Lafayette and Scott, have come out of pocket to assist volunteers because there’s not enough money in the parish general fund to fully reimburse them.
Chief Sonnier said he hopes the public comes out to these meetings to learn more about what’s going on before they make their vote. “In Scott alone, we’ve received an 85% budget cut in the last three years,” said Sonnier. “Financially we can not just keep on working at a loss because it’s just not fair to the citizens of Scott. We need to find funding somewhere. Some type of funding source, ” he added.
The next town hall meeting is scheduled for tonight at the Scott Civic Center at 110 Lions Club Road, Scott, LA. It begins at 6 p.m.
Here’s a list of upcoming meetings:
· October 25th: Youngsville Sports Complex (Recreation Ctr) 801 Savoy Rd, Youngsville, LA
· November 7th: Lafayette Southside Library, 6101 Johnston St, Lafayette, LA
· November 8th: Milton Civic Center, 100 Civic Ln, Lafayette, LA
· November 12: Lafayette Main Library (Downtown), 301 W Congress St, Lafayette, LA
· November 14: Judice Fire Station, 401 Ranch Rd, Duson, LA