A.G. request was never sent
The long-awaited opinion from the state Attorney General regarding fire protection responsibilities outside the Crowley city limits will be a little longer in coming.
It seems there was never an “official” request forwarded to the state office.
“This has come up a few times and has been mentioned a lot,” A.J. “Fatty” Broussard, police jury president, said Tuesday night. “But we looked through the meeting minutes going back to April and we can’t find where there was ever a motion, second and vote to send a request to the Attorney General on our behalf.”
The police jury wants to know if, because the Crowley Fire Department has been receiving insurance rebate funds from the rural areas surrounding the corporate limits, the parish is mandated to pay for fire and rescue services in that area.
The parish was forced to start paying for fire and extrication calls in the unincorporated areas around Crowley on June 1 after the city council, using an Attorney General opinion from Woodworth, said the Crowley Fire Department would no longer respond for free.
But jurors argue that, since the department receives about $60,000 annually from insurance rebates — about $15,000 of that generated from the unincorporated area around the city — a precedent has been set and the department is, in fact, being paid.
Fire Protection District 11 has been formed and a $100 parcel fee approved to fund a volunteer department to service that area.
In the meantime, however, the parish must pay for all fire and extrication calls to that area.
In May the jury allocated $10,000 as a “loan” to the new district. That funding was supposed to last through Jan. 15, 2014, at which time the district should begin receiving the parcel fees and would be able to repay the parish.
That $10,000 was expended in the first three months, however, and the jury was forced to add another $10,000.
The Tuesday vote to forward the request to the Attorney General was unanimous and jurors tacked on “expedited” in hopes that a response would be quick.