Residents in south Webster Parish went to the polls Tuesday and said yes to a 10-mill ad valorem (property) tax dedicated to fire protection in the areas outside the town limits of Sibley.
With 76.61 percent of the votes, the tax passed with 226 votes.
“The Property Insurance Association of Louisiana is forcing the town of Sibley to stop free fire coverage,” Fire District No. 2 board chairman Brent Hunt explained. “This is a new tax. We’ve never paid a fire tax in our district before.”
Fire District 2 was drawn in February of this year by the Webster Parish Police Jury and encompasses areas around Sibley no more than seven miles from the fire station, Hunt said. Funds from the tax will be used to purchase fire protection from Sibley’s volunteer department.
Hunt said the board’s intentions are to assess the full 10-mill the first year. At the end of the year, the total will be reevaluated.
“We will see how much comes in that first year and we can assess what we need. We don’t have to assess the full millage, but we can’t go over the amount approved by the voters,” Hunt said.
The 10-mill tax should create an income of around $110,000, Hunt said. The proceeds will not only be used to purchase fire protection for the district but to assist with the purchase of equipment for Sibley’s fire department.
“We can spend the money on anything to do with fire protection for the district,” Hunt said. “Sibley’s fire department budget is approximately $80,000 annually, so anything we can contribute will help them in their budget.”
By a vote of 151 to 89, voters in the Village of Doyline agreed to a 1 percent sales tax that will be dedicated to streets and general operations of the town.
The tax, which will go into effect Jan. 1, 2015, is expected to bring in $17,000 per year.