Should members of the LSU Board of Supervisors disclose who receives their scholarships?|
Story Archives: Hemphill pledges to improve parish fire rating
- 2013 - 845 articles
- 2012 - 1954 articles
- 2011 - 2029 articles
- 2010 - 2139 articles
- 2009 - 2066 articles
- December 2009 - 163 articles
- November 2009 - 166 articles
- October 2009 - 231 articles
- October 30th, 2009 (Friday) - 1 articles
- October 29th, 2009 (Thursday) - 39 articles
- October 27th, 2009 (Tuesday) - 2 articles
- October 25th, 2009 (Sunday) - 1 articles
- October 23rd, 2009 (Friday) - 2 articles
- October 22nd, 2009 (Thursday) - 37 articles
- October 21st, 2009 (Wednesday) - 1 articles
- October 17th, 2009 (Saturday) - 2 articles
- October 16th, 2009 (Friday) - 1 articles
- October 15th, 2009 (Thursday) - 35 articles
- October 14th, 2009 (Wednesday) - 1 articles
- October 13th, 2009 (Tuesday) - 1 articles
- October 12th, 2009 (Monday) - 1 articles
- October 11th, 2009 (Sunday) - 4 articles
- October 9th, 2009 (Friday) - 4 articles
- October 8th, 2009 (Thursday) - 44 articles
- October 7th, 2009 (Wednesday) - 1 articles
- October 6th, 2009 (Tuesday) - 1 articles
- October 5th, 2009 (Monday) - 4 articles
- October 3rd, 2009 (Saturday) - 3 articles
- October 1st, 2009 (Thursday) - 46 articles
- September 2009 - 161 articles
- August 2009 - 136 articles
- July 2009 - 153 articles
- June 2009 - 126 articles
- May 2009 - 164 articles
- April 2009 - 242 articles
- March 2009 - 204 articles
- February 2009 - 163 articles
- January 2009 - 157 articles
- 2008 - 1757 articles
|Hemphill pledges to improve parish fire rating|
One of the priorities at the Ouachita Parish Fire Department over the next few years will entail work to improve the parish's fire rating.
Parish fire chief Pat Hemphill said that's one way the fire department wants to assist the public, which overwhelmingly approved a property tax measure Saturday to pay for operations at the fire department.
The 10-year 19.11-mill property tax renewal passed with 71.24 percent of the vote, or 8,929 votes in favor of it. Approximately 3,605 residents, or 28.76 percent, voted against it.
The police jury last year agreed to lower the fire department's millage rate from 19.24 mills to 19.11 mills. That was done due to the sound financial situation at the parish fire department. Finances were better than anticipated in 2008 because of unexpected revenues during the year.
Barring some kind of unforeseen circumstances, the fire department can operate with the revenues generated from the 19.11 mills, Hemphill said.
"That's the funding we have to work with, so we've had to make adjustments in the department to make sure we stay within it," Hemphill said. "You have to have a balanced budget."
Hemphill said the fire department would pursue efforts to improve the parish's fire rating in the future. For now, he's pleased, knowing the fire department should enjoy a stable revenue stream for the next 10 years.
"We will be pursuing that, but, for now, this is good news because we can keep operating," Hemphill said. "We're thankful for everyone who supported it (property tax renewal), and we'll continue to provide the best fire service our community wants and deserves."
A study completed earlier this year by the University of Louisiana-Monroe suggested the fire department could obtain a class 4 fire rating with some changes. The parish fire department currently has a class 5 rating.
The department's class rating determines how much money parish property owners pay for homeowner's insurance. The highest rating, or best rating, is a class 1. The Property Insurance Association of Louisiana determines the rating for each fire department in the state.
Hemphill anticipates the fire department will be rated again by the Property Insurance Association within the next several years.
He said the changes that are necessary to improve the parish's rating back would require some time to accomplish.
"It's going to take some time because there needs to be an improvement in the water system, and that doesn't mean just planting some more hydrants out there," Hemphill said. "The water available for firefighting purposes has to increase.
The Property Insurance Association looks at all water systems within the fire district when determining a district's rating.
"They look at the maximum daily usage by the community and the difference between water available and the maximum daily usage is considered to be the water available for firefighting purposes," Hemphill said. "If that is deemed to be low or inadequate for the number of structures you're protecting, it doesn't really matter how many fire hydrants you've got out there. The distribution system has to be improved upon. It's been done in other areas, and it's just a matter of moving it up on the priority list."
He said improving the water system would be a more cost effective way to improve the fire rating. Another method to improve the fire rating would require hiring more personnel and adding more fire trucks to the department's fleet.
"But that's more expensive because then you have that personnel cost," Hemphill said. "However, by improving the water system, there would be a one-time cost up front in doing it, and then the cost after that would be negligible. It would just be maintenance."
Hemphill said adequate funding hinders the parish in making changes to the water system.
"We're going to strive towards it because it is one of our top priorities," he said.