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Livingston Parish Fire Protection District Number 4 needs help with tax renewal

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POSTED: Monday, October 14, 2013 - 6:35pm

UPDATED: Monday, October 14, 2013 - 7:08pm

Livingston Parish Fire Protection District Number 4 needs help with a property tax renewal. They're asking voters to support renewing a 10 mil property tax assessment and extending the renewal period to 20 years.

The 10 mil property tax was first authorized by voters in 1975. Since then firefighters have had to get the tax renewed every 10 years. Now they're hoping voters will change that to every 20 years.

"The 20 years will give us better opportunity by bonding money over longer period of time at a lower interest rate," Fire Chief James T. Wascom, Livingston Parish Fire Protection District Number 4, explained.

The Wascom said the lower interest rate would allow the fire department to better use tax payers dollars.

"Currently, we need to build 5 more fire stations. We need to hire more part time firefighters. We need to buy more apparatus," Wascom described.

People living in fire protection district 4 say they support the firefighters.

"I'm for the tax I think it's a great thing. I'm in business for myself I know it takes a lot of money to run a business I'm sure it takes a whole lot of money to run a fire department.," Bubba Kennedy, Walker resident, said.

Wascom explained money raised from the mil makes up around 65 percent of the fire department's operating budget, or about $1.7 million.

Wascom broke down what the renewal means for you: "One mil 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 fire 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. "

"When you think about it. It's a minuet amount for each house hold, so I mean, if you think about what they do all year round," Kennedy said. "I think it's definitely needed. "

Wascom said without the property tax assessment renewal the fire department could be in trouble.

"Without this millage the future of the fire department is uncertain." Wascom said. "We need them to help us help them. "

The fourth district fire department covers areas like Port Vincent, Walker, and Watson.

Voters hit the polls this Saturday October 19.

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