An increase in the millage Concordia Parish Fire Protection District 2 receives will be on the April 29 special election’s ballet.
The announcement was made at the Police Jury’s Jan. 23 meeting.
With the possible increased proceeds, District 2 Fire Chief Vick Brown wants to increase manpower to possibly decrease the parish’s Property Insurance Association of Louisiana (PIAL) rating which in turn could possibly lower home insurance. The Fire District covers all areas of the parish except Vidalia, Ferriday and Monterey.
“The proceeds will provide more money to hire more people,” Brown said in a Tuesday morning Sentinel interview. “We’re trying to get more full-time people to help cover the parish 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”
Currently, parish property owners pay 6.9 mills in support of the district. If passed, it will be raised to 10 mills.
“In the grand scheme of things, three mills is not a lot of extra money,” Brown explains, posing a question. “If your house is on fire, would you rather us show up in 15 minutes with two men or 10 men?”
PIAL is a private, non-profit association composed of all insurance companies licensed to write fire and certain coverages within the State of Louisiana.
PIAL reviews the water supply a community uses to determine the adequacy for fire-suppression purposes. Also considered are hydrant size, type, and installation, as well as the inspection frequency and condition of fire hydrants.
Upon inspection, PIAL determines a protection classification for the graded areas which in turn will lower or raise a resident’s home insurance.
PIAL also provides municipal officials with information and advice concerning factors that can affect property insurance ratings.
Although increased manpower does not guarantee a lowering of the PIAL rating, it certainly helps, according to Brown.
In related action, Police Jury members approved the reappointment of Harvey Cowan and Virgil Barnes to the Concordia Parish Fire District 2 Board of Commissioners.
The group also approved Ronnie Wilkerson as a member of the Concordia Parish Sewer Board District 1.
Additionally, Police Jury members agreed to move a derelict mobile home, leading to a discussion on limiting the moving of mobile homes if they are a certain age.
“At some point in time, we need to sit down and pass an ordinance stating if it’s a build date before 1990 they cannot bring it in or move it in the parish,” said Police Jury Gary Neal. “We need to have stipulations. I’m not trying to deny anybody housing, but somebody has to put their hands on it and say if (the mobile home) can or can’t be moved.”
Meanwhile, the Police Jury was granted a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant extension for gravel road repair.
The government agency granted the parish funds to repair its gravel roads which routinely are flooded. Parish crews have the roads on their repair list but have to wait until the roads dry out.
There is a 25 percent match with the FEMA grant.
Concordia Parish Police Jury was also eligible for a $256,000 American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) grant. The proceeds can be used for “anything,” according to Police Jury employee Cathy Darden.
In similar action, Police Juror Genesia Allen and Neal announced grants were being applied for the refurbishment of Crestview Drive.
Also, Allen asked that Robert Webber Drive be worked on due to dangerous conditions. The road runs from Crestview to Vidalia Drive and in front of Concordia Parish Academy in Ridgecrest.
“It has lots of potholes and the street has dropped off,” Allen said. “We are talking about buses traveling with our children on this road. It is a very dangerous road at this point, especially with the buses.”