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Ascension Parish fire protection tax up for renewal

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PRAIRIEVILLE - A tax that supports the Ascension Parish Fire District No. 3 is up for renewal next Tuesday. 

The $10 million property tax is expected to generate at least $2 million dollar a year over the next ten years.

Fire Chief Mark Stewart says the money is crucial to continue expanding the department to keep up with growth in the Prairieville and Dutchtown areas.

"We have several more stations that need to be built to efficiently and effectively cover Fire District 3's area, with that comes more personnel, trucks, and equipment." said Stewart.

Not everyone thinks the tax should be renewed though. Councilman "Doc" Saterlee thinks the department has adequate funding to continue to fight the district's fires.

Saterlee argues that a more concentrated effort of bringing in volunteers would keep the department flush with the manpower necessary to do the job.

However, Stewart thinks getting people to fight fires for free is unrealistic.

"Ten years ago, the volunteers we had here said it's starting to be a burden. It's too tough to be up at night answering the calls then go to work the next day," said Stewart. "People here, most of them are two income families, whether you have one, two or three kids and that takes a ton of time. They don't have time to volunteer."

Residents in the area agree, adding they would rather have full-time firefighters at the ready if their family is in need.

"We continue to pay the taxes that we're already paying, to pay the people who are willing to sacrifice time away from their families to protect others, then we need to continue to invest in that," said Amanda Bacala, who lives in the fire district.

Voters can cast their ballot next Tuesday on Election Day.


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