Property tax increase on the ballot to expand fire protection in Livingston Parish
SATSUMA - A property tax increase will be on the ballot for voters in Livingston Parish Fire District 4. The district covers the area from Walker to Port Vincent, making it one of the largest in the parish.
Judith Trest owns a home in Satsuma, which falls under District 4. She says she's seen the impact of insufficient fire protection resources firsthand.
"We've had a few houses and trailers right around where I live now... that have burned down before the fire department could get there and save them," Trest recalled.
Fire officials have been managing the district with their current budget for years, but they say there isn't much more they can do with the limited funds.
"The dollar we have right now, we have stretched it about as far as it'll go," Deputy Fire Chief Trey Jackson said.
The fire district is trying to raise more money with a property tax increase for the first time since the district was established 50 years ago. It's being proposed to help keep up with the rapid growth in the area.
"The population has just boomed out here in the parish. Neighborhoods are going up every day, bigger neighborhoods," Jackson said.
The millage increase will be on the ballot for voters Saturday. It would be about $150 more a year for a home worth about $100,000 in order to add more firefighters, gear and a new fire station in Satsuma.
Officials believe the extra funds will also help reduce response time, meaning saving more lives.
"Sometimes, we have one guy on the scene maybe doing CPR for several minutes," Jackson said.
Some citizens are willing to make the trade of spending more money to improve the fire response and help people more efficiently.
"Yes, I definitely will vote for it, even if it was to cost me $175 more," Trest said.
But officials say it won't go that high, even if her home is worth more than $100,000.
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