Absentee voting continues for fire district election

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 24, 2001

VIDALIA, La. – Absentee voting will continue through Saturday morning for an election to renew a 6.94-mill tax to fund the operations of Concordia Fire District No. 2 for another 10 years.

&uot;All our district’s maintenance and operation money comes from that tax,&uot; said Fire Chief Nolen Cothren, noting that the district’s budget is $148,000 a year. Without the tax, Cothren said, the district could not afford to keep even one of its eight fire stations open.

The district serves about 7,500 households outside Concordia Parish’s towns and the Monterey area. Without its own fire district, the area would go from a class 5 fire rating down to the lowest, a 10. And most insurance companies will not write policies for residents of an area with a 10 rating, Cothren said.

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&uot;So we’re asking everybody to get out and vote yes for this renewal,&uot; Cothren said. While the actual election will be May 5, absentee voting can be done from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. through Friday and from 8:30 a.m. to noon Saturday at the new courthouse.

The tax, which has already been in place for 10 years, costs the owner of a $100,000 house without a homestead exemption $69.40 a year, Tax Assessor Monelle Moseley said Monday. But most Concordia residents get the homestead exemption, she said.

With proceeds from the tax, the district has been able to establish eight fire stations and 20 fire trucks throughout the parish since 1991. 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 average owner of a brick house that is 20 years old and is worth $100,000 would pay less than $900 a year for home insurance under a class 8 fire rating and less than $800 with a class 5 rating, according to figures from Reed Insurance in Ferriday.

If the house was a wood frame structure, the homeowner would pay less than $1,000 under a class 8 and less than $800 under a class 5.