The fine reputation for quality and service of Baton Rouge’s city fire department and that of the St. George Fire District has generally carried with it support for taxes, because of the benefit not only to safety but to the insurance costs of property owners.
Yet we’re in a different world with a fractious Metro Council, many of them posturing lately for higher office and taking shots at any tax proposition they are presented with. That resulted in a good bit of discussion before the two St. George propositions emerged for the May 2 ballot. Early voting begins Saturday.
We urge voters to approve both the proposals. These are not related to the petition drive, still in the works, for a separate city of St. George.
The original fire department request was for one larger property tax, renewing an existing 1.25 millage for operations and adding on another 2 mills for needed improvements of the water system and a new station in the growing Nicholson/Bluebonnet area.
Now, after some to and fro at the Metro Council, the renewal and the 2-mill increase for growth are for 10-year periods, not the 20 years earlier proposed.
These corrections are sensible and sailed through the council once changed.
What has not changed, we believe, is the need for support for firefighters and emergency responders, nor provision for growth in the southern end of the parish. The St. George Fire Department’s goal is Class 1 status, which would mean a savings for homeowners on insurance.
Growth in the Nicholson corridor is clearly going to strain services unless taxpayers look ahead. We urge them to do so and support the taxes.