State officials are meeting past the supper hour Tuesday to help a small town east of Zachary with a time crunch.
Chaneyville Fire Protection District No. 7 needs approval from the East Baton Rouge Parish Metro Council and from the State Bond Commission to ask voters in November to pass a new property tax.
Time is running out for the district to get the tax added to the Nov. 19 election ballot.
An attempt to get the Metro Council’s approval was aborted last week when the council lost a quorum and abruptly adjourned.
The district plans to try again when the Metro Council meets Tuesday. From the Governmental Building, district officials will race to the State Capitol for a 7 p.m. meeting of the ad hoc election subcommittee of the State Bond Commission.
“There will be a quorum … We’re the first item so I’m going to grab the resolution and run,” Richard Leibowitz, the district’s bond counsel, said of the Metro Council meeting.
The Nov. 19 ballot includes a number of election issues, lowering the small district’s cost for seeking voter approval of a 10 mill tax.
If the district fails to get approval Tuesday, it could have to bear the full cost of an April special election, Leibowitz said.
Chaneyville Fire Chief Mark Strickland said the district held a special election in the past for the renewal of a tax. “We’ll never do that again, because we don’t have the money,” Strickland said.
He said the district provides fire protection to 55 businesses and 2,000 homes.
The new tax, Strickland said, is expected to generate $60,000 a year to help pay for a new fire station and daily expenses.
He said the property already is purchased for the fire station.
Normally, state officials meet during regular business hours.
Whit Kling, the State Bond Commission’s director, said officials understand that the cost of a special election would be a burden for the tiny fire district.
“We’re just trying to help them out,” he said.
Strickland said he is optimistic that the tax will make it onto the November ballot.
“I think it will work out all right,” he said.