Several local municipalities and districts in the Tri-City area will roll forward millages to maintain funding, pay debt and increase critical staffing for public safety and increase or maintain other governmental functions.
Fire Protection District 7 Board President Ricky Roberts said his organization is rolling forward their millage from 4.97 to 5 mills to raise an additional $13,000 in revenues.
The value of the millage to the fire protection district in 2011 was $260,230. With the projected increase in revenues, the fire protection district is expected to collect $273,730.
Roberts said the board approved the action at a June 18 meeting to roll forward millage because if they did not take the action, they would never again be able to roll forward the mill.
The additional projected funding of $13,500 is needed to meet a critical need for the department – the hiring of an additional staff member at the Bayou Vista Volunteer Fire Department.
The Fire Protection District 7 board recognized a critical need to improve fire protection in the area by adding another permanent employee in at least a part-time capacity.
“The new employee would be responsible for answering fire calls, maintaining the station and running medical calls,” Roberts said. “This would allow us to have a three truck immediate response to structure fires. This would improve response times and community safety because it would allow immediate attacks on structure fires.”
He said that by law, firefighters have to enter burning structures in pairs, and a third man would allow this to happen because he could man the pumps for the current two full-time employees. The third man would alleviate the necessity of waiting on volunteers to arrive before structure fires could be attacked.
Roberts said he did not expect opposition to the mill increase at the public meeting and he expected the new millage rate to go into effect in late September or early October, the beginning of their fiscal year.
The public meeting is scheduled for July 18 at 6:30 p.m. at 1701 Saturn Road in Morgan City.
Morgan City is also considering the possibility of rolling millages forward.
According to Finance Director Deborah Garber, three separate millages for the city tax, auditorium maintenance and the auditorium bond tax are all being currently considered.
According to a financial document provided by Garber, the city tax is “used for the general administration of the city, including administrative, purchasing, planning and zoning, cemetery, public works, police and fire expenses.”
The auditorium maintenance millage is used for the upkeep of that facility. The auditorium bond tax millage pays debts service on the structure through general obligation bonds passed in 2000.
For 2011, the city tax millage was assessed at 14.78 mills worth $1.71 million; auditorium maintenance was assessed at 2 mills worth $231,139 and the auditorium bond tax millage was assessed at a rate of .11 mills worth $12,713 to the municipality.
If the city decided to roll forward millages in 2012, the city tax millage rate would remain the same, but revenues would jump to $1.72 million.
Garber said the auditorium maintenance millage rate would remain the same and revenues would increase to $233,030 and the auditorium bond tax millage rate would increase to 1.19, increasing revenues to $138,653 from $12,713.
A public meeting on the millage issues is scheduled for July 24 at 6 p.m. at the City Court building.
Berwick Chief Administrative Officer Bubba Slaughter said the Town of Berwick is not currently planning to raise their millage rates from 18.2 mills, but the city is still projected to bring in an additional $10,280 in revenues.
He said currently, the town collects two millages totaling 18.2 mills worth $534,699 in revenues.
The revenue increase would raise the total to $544,979.
The first is a 12.12 mill assessment for the general fund. The second is a 6 mill assessment for recreation and other purposes.
“We are intending to keep them the same as last year,” Slaughter said. “But to (maintain the millage) at the maximum, the state requires us to say we are rolling forward the millages. That is where the $10,280 increase comes in (due to increased property values). For us to remain revenue neutral, the millage would have to go down, but, pending council approval, it will remain the same as assessed in 2011.”
A public meeting on the issue is scheduled for July 10 at 7:15 p.m. at the Berwick Town Hall.