Vote March 26th, 2022
Hello and thank you for your interest in the millage renewal coming up on March 26th. Here are some basic facts that you should know:
In 2020 FD9 underwent our PIAL rating. Because of our long term planning we were able to reduce our rating from a “4” to a “3” effective 2021. This means your insurance costs should have reduced.
Our community has been experiencing growth like never before and this growth rate will explode once the new 4 lane highway, (LA 3241), opens in the next couple of years.
Our main source of funding is a 35 mil property tax paid annually and brings in funds that pay for everything we require to protect our community.
We have 4 stations, each with an engine, a tanker and a service truck
We also have a ladder truck, a spare engine and two support vehicles in the fleet
You have 3 paid firefighters on duty 24/7 minimum
You have 20 trained volunteers who train and respond along with the paid personnel
Our equipment was all paid for by grants, (saving over $2 million), but must be tested annually and cleaned and serviced often.
We respond to not only fires, but to wrecks, rescues, alarms and medicals.
Our EMT’s arrive within 5-7 minutes
Acadian Ambulance is usually 15-30 minutes behind us
Without our medically trained personnel, the chance of surviving a major event, (such as stroke, heart attack, trauma), or any other type of event would be low
The 35 mil tax was voted on in 2009 for a term of 20 years. This tax does not expire till 2029, which is still 7 years away. The fire department can only borrow money via a “bond”. That bond can only have a term as long as our tax revenue is promised, (in this case it would be a maximum term of 7 years). By renewing our millage early, (renewing it this year would mean that the new term would begin in 2030 and go for 20 years), we can take a longer term bond and make the payments easier to handle. In this case, we want to go for a 20 year bond starting later this year and ending in 2042. We are planning on borrowing $1.2 million to better equip our department and to make us ready for the growth we will experience. Our plans include a new station on Hwy 40 (on land already purchased) including a new pond to increase our available water supply since we have no hydrants and must rely on tankers to bring water to the fires. This new station will also have an area for the STPSO to utilize and an area for Acadian Ambulance to stage one of their units at so if they are needed, their response time will be greatly reduced thus better serving our community. We also want to add on to our main station on Hwy 21. We need to replace trailers with a building that will house the on duty firefighters and a training room. The third station needs a cover to house a truck out of the weather so a metal cover added to the station is needed now. We will also be replacing a 40 year old tanker truck with a reconditioned “new-to-us” tanker truck. We are also going to buy the equipment for our ladder truck that we’ve never had before. Our radios are also in need of upgrades and we want to add EMS equipment that would aid in lifesaving events, (an automatic CPR machine for example), which we’ve never had before.
We are putting on a rookie school later this year and hiring 2 more firefighters from that school. Hopefully we can add a 3rd new employee early in 2023 as well. All this is to help us maintain our PIAL rating of 3. Without this bond we will not keep our stellar rating, we cannot prepare for the future as we should and we will be trying to play catch-up from here on out. This millage renewal is just that, a renewal and NOT a new tax. We just want to keep what we have, live within our means and protect our community as we all deserve to be. By spreading out the cost over 20 years, we can afford to get our department ready for the next several decades and to get ahead of the need for once in St Tammany Parish. Won’t you allow us to better plan for our future by renewing our existing millage on March 26th? A YES vote will allow us to keep our insurance rating low and to better prepare our department to help you in your time of need. Please consider our request, and your future on March 26th.
If you have any questions, concerns or comments-please contact me anytime on my personal cell phone, (985) 516-1462 or at the office (985)886-5608. Or just stop by the fire station at 80581 Hwy 21, about 1.3 miles south of Fifth Ward School. I welcome your visit, texts, phone call and your questions.
On behalf of our board, our firefighters and myself, thank you for your time and your consideration.
Chief Scott Brewer
STFD9, Bush & Sun LA