Choctaw voters were asked on Nov. 13 to approve a new parcel fee of $ 75 for fire protection services.
The Lafourche Parish 8-B Fire District, which contracts with the Choctaw Volunteer Fire Department, is asking voters to approve the fees starting in 2022.
If approved, the measure would generate an additional $ 27,675 per year for 10 years for the 30-member department, which serves around 350 households.
Only voters in the Choctaw region will vote on the measure.
A parcel tax is a type of property tax where each resident pays the same amount, said Wendy Thibodeaux, tax assessor for the parish of Lafourche.
âIt’s kind of like a sales tax,â Thibodeaux said. âEveryone pays for it. It’s defined at the plot level, not at the value level. Everyone votes on the parcel costs.
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According to Fire Chief Cody Rink, the department has an annual budget that depends solely on fundraising income to operate.
However, the bad weather of recent years and the COVID-19 pandemic have changed that, Rink said.
âThe Choctaw Volunteer Fire Department currently relies only on donations and funds raised from events such as our Fall Bash, the Choctaw Fire Fair and other small events,â he said. . âUnfortunately, the funds raised during these events vary and depend largely on the weather. A rainy weekend during the Choctaw Firefighters Fair can cause the department to lose 70 to 80% of the funds it needs to operate for the year.
âInconsistent revenues cause problems when we want to buy capital assets such as fire trucks and equipment. By passing the parcel charges, the department will have a guaranteed income for a period of 10 years that we can budget for and would improve the operations of the department. ”
The extra money will help the department maintain its listing with the Property Insurance Association of Louisiana, Rink said. The association rates the service’s fire protection level on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being best, and a high rating helps keep homeowners’ insurance costs low.
Choctaw’s current rating is 5 and the next review will take place in 2023.
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âOur department is proactive and has put training and education at the forefront,â said Rink. âA majority of our members hold various firefighting and rescue certifications. Our department’s roster continues to grow and we plan to continue to promote education and professionalism.
A week of early voting ends on Saturday. In Lafourche, electors can vote in advance from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. at these locations:
- Office of the Registrar Thibodaux, 307 W. Fourth St.
- Mathews Government Complex, 4876 La. 1.
- Galliano Office at the South Lafourche Library, 16241 E. Main St.
Voting will take place from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on November 13 at the usual polling stations. To find polling stations or preview your specific ballot, visit geauxvote.com.
– Editor-in-Chief Dan Copp can be reached at 448-7639 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @DanVCopp.