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Parish Council OK’s special elections to aid fire districts

The Washington Parish Council adopted resolutions Monday night allowing two volunteer fire districts to hold elections on Dec. 6 for the purpose of improving facilities and effectiveness.

The Council allowed Fire District No. 1 to issue general obligation bonds for a proposed station at Louisiana Highway 25 at East Daniels Road. The department is currently housed on C.E. Stafford Road in the southern part of the district.

The bonds are not to exceed $425,000 for not more than 15 years. It’s estimated the public will pay an additional 4.35 mills the first year above the 6.15 mills currently being levied.

The Council approved District 7’s request to renew a special tax of five mills on all property subject to taxation in the district (estimated at $112,185) for 10 years beginning in 2016 and ending in 2025.

The purpose of the special tax includes the cost of obtaining water for fire protection and paying charges for fire hydrant rentals and service. An additional four mills were requested for overall operations.

“The building we’re in now is 66 by 40, and we do not have a meeting room,” Ed Glockner said speaking for District 1. “Our calls have increased since (Bogue Chitto State) Park opened. Our response times are reduced now that our property is dead center in the middle of our district.”

Glockner is District 1 Board president, a firefighter and an EMS responder.

No District 7 representative addressed the Council. The district’s two stations are on Bill Booty Road and Louisiana Highway 21. The district maintains 19 trucks.

In other business, the Council adopted an ordinance authorizing the parish to enter into an Intergovernmental Cooperative Endeavor Agreement with the state through the Department of Transportation and Development’s Road Transfer Program. Parish roads in question, Choctaw and Dummyline, were recently surveyed. The estimated cost to repair those roads is $1,015.460. After construction is complete, the parish figures to have a credit of $368,306 for additional roadway improvements under the Road Transfer program.

Also, Council attorney Wayne Kuhn swore in Karl Bickham as Enforcement Officer.

“This will enhance our ability to enforce the ordinances of Washington Parish,” Kuhn said, shortly after issuing Bickham his badge.

During the meeting it was noted that the air conditioning in the Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office and Jail is not working, so officials are currently renting an air conditioning unit for $3,500 per month. It’s another $1,800 to return the rental unit.

Also, Washington Parish President Richard Thomas read a proclamation declaring Sept. 17-23 as Constitution Week.

“Constitution Week reaffirms the ideals of the signees of the Constitution,” Thomas said.

Thomas also invited the public to attend the United Way of Southeast Louisiana/Washington Parish Regional Office Campaign and Tailgate Party at noon Friday at the Courthouse in Franklinton. Washington Parish Government and Franklinton Mayor Wayne Fleming will host the event. Hot dogs and soft drinks will be available.