Parish to vote on renewal of fire district tax

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 7, 2001

VIDALIA, La. – A special election will be held May 5 to renew a 6.94-mill tax to fund the operations of Concordia Fire District No. 1 for another 10 years.

&uot;All our budget – $148,000 a year – comes from this tax,&uot; said Fire Chief Nolen Cothren, whose district serves areas of Concordia Parish outside town limits.

&uot;If this tax doesn’t pass, we don’t exist,&uot;&160;Cothren said. &uot;We’re not asking for a tax increase, just a renewal of what we’re already getting.&uot;

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The owner of a $100,000 house without a homestead exemption in unincorporated Concordia Parish pays $6.94 in taxes to the fire district, said Tax Assessor Monelle Moseley.

&uot;But many people, especially in their area, have a homestead exemption, so they wouldn’t even pay that much,&uot; Moseley said Tuesday.

But with proceeds from the tax, first passed in 1991, the district has been able to establish eight fire stations and 20 fire trucks throughout the parish.

The money has also paid for training and certification for district personnel.

Such improvements have brought the area’s fire rating from 10 to 5, cutting homeowners’ insurance bills, Cothren said. Most recently, the fire district’s rating was raised from 8 to 5 in September.

The owner of a brick house that is 20 years old and is worth $100,000 would pay $889 a year for home insurance under a class 8 fire rating and $674 with a class 5 rating, a savings of $215, said Paul Reed of Reed Insurance in Ferriday.

If the house was a wood frame structure, the homeowner would pay $977 under a class 8 and $741 under a class 5, a savings of $236.

&uot;With a class 10 rating, a lot of (insurance) companies wouldn’t even write anything out there because the house would be guaranteed totaled if a fire happened,&uot; Reed said.

Concordia Fire District No. 1 serves about 7,500 households and dozens of businesses.