By Luke Britt/Editor
A tax renewal for the Farmerville Fire Department that has been renewed every ten years for 40 years will be among the items on the October 14 ballot.
The 6 mill property tax, which generates about $222,000 annually for the fire department, has been renewed every 10 years since it was first passed in 1984, which may explain the cautious optimism Chief Billy Jung recently expressed.
“We’re conscience of it, but we’re not stressing it,” Jung said. “We feel like the people value what we do, and they know how it impacts them.”
Jung was referring to the relationship between fire protection and the rates home and business owner pay for fire insurance.
Insurers view properties with comprehensive fire protection as less risky to insure, which translates into lower fire insurance rates, Jung said.
“Every five years the state evaluates our manpower, our equipment and the number of stations we have, and the rating we receive from that evaluation dictates your insurance rates,” he said.
Prior to the fire protection millage’s initial passage in 1984, Farmerville’s fire department was rated Class 9. After the tax passed, that rated jumped to Class 3.
“We still a Class 3 and that puts us in the top 10 percent of fire districts in the state,” Jung said.
The Farmerville Fire Department is classified as a combination department, meaning it is staffed by both career and volunteer fire departments. According to the Louisiana Fire Marshal Office there are 179 combination fire departments in the state and Farmerville appears to be one of only a handful with a Class 3 rating.
Jung, who became Farmerville’s first fulltime fireman in 1994 and its chief in 2011, said the department currently has three fulltime and 24 volunteer fire fighters and responds to more than 100 fire and vehicle extraction calls per year.
“I have to say, we’re as proud of our community outreach as we are of fighting fires,” Jung said. “I think everyone knows that we’re a part of the town, so whatever the town has going on, we’re all in. That’s what we stand for as a fire department.”