Two fire districts in southern Livingston Parish are up for ten-year tax renewals on the Nov. 18 ballot.
Residents in French Settlement-area District 8 and Maurepas-area District 9 will vote this month on whether to continue paying property taxes that fund their local firefighters.
The tax millages generate annual revenues of about $164,000 in French Settlement and $193,000 in Maurepas, according to the Louisiana Secretary of State's website.
French Settlement Fire Chief Alan Guitreau said the 16.63 mill tax, plus an annual fundraiser, pays the department's costs for equipment and training of its 32 volunteers.
"What’s at stake is everybody's insurance rating. What people pay in millage is nothing compared to what you would pay with fire insurance without a fire department," he said.
He said the department responded to 392 fire and medical incidents last year.
The district has a class 5 rating, he said.
Fire districts are ranked from 1 to 10, with 1 being the best and 10 meaning there is no fire department at all.
FRENCH SETTLEMENT — Area residents should see their fire insurance rates go down as a result of Fire Protection District 8’s improved rating, …
Maurepas Fire Chief Samantha Breaud said the 10.38 mill property tax in her jurisdiction covers her entire budget of two paid firefighters and training, supplies and trucks for 38 volunteers.
"If our millage doesn't pass, we probably would only be able to last another year or so before we would have to be seeking more funding," she said.
The Maurepas-area department has a fire rating of 6, according to Breaud.
She said the department has worked its way from a 10 to a 6 since 2005.
"We would prefer to stay on top of things and continue moving the department forward," she said.
Breaud said the department has responded to 402 calls so far this year. Of those, there were 283 medical emergencies, 18 structural fires, 50 car accidents and 14 mutual aids with other districts. Another 37 calls were for miscellaneous incidents, according to department records.
Fire protection taxes are typically considered a shoo-in because of the effect a fire district has on property insurance rates.
But, in December 2014, residents in Holden, a Livingston Parish town just 20 miles north, narrowly voted down a tax renewal for its fire department. The tax was placed back on the ballot in May 2015 and won by a wide margin.
Livingston Parish voters approved four property tax renewals Saturday, including a scaled-back version of the Health Unit tax voters rejected …
For District 8 residents taking the homestead exemption, the 16.63 mill tax costs $41.58 per year for a house worth $100,000 and $124.73 for a $150,000 house.
For District 9 residents taking the homestead exemption, the 10.38 mill tax costs $34.50 per year for a $100,000 house and $103.50 for a house worth $150,000.
Early voting runs from Friday through Nov. 11. Election day is Nov. 18.
Editor's note: This article was changed on Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017, to note that early voting starts on Friday, Nov. 3.