Gonzales voters set to decide on renewing fire millage in Saturd - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Gonzales voters set to decide on renewing fire millage in Saturday election

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(Source: WAFB) (Source: WAFB)

Gonzales voters will decide whether to renew a millage tax that affects fire and emergency services on Saturday. The millage tax has been in place for nearly three decades.

Gonzales firefighters are always on the move, even when they are not out fighting fires or helping with rescue operations. On Tuesday, they were checking their trucks and equipment to make sure everything is in working order.

"We provide a service. This is a service department," said Chief Tracey Normand with the Gonzales Fire Department.

Chief Normand runs a 'round the clock' fire station that's not just limited to fire fighting. His men are trained medics who respond to car crashes, health calls and water rescue operations.

His department's response to those calls has earned the city a solid fire rating resulting in lower insurance premiums for residents and businesses. Taxpayers have also enjoyed a no expense ambulance service.

"If you are hurt or get in a car wreck in the city limits, we pick you up in our ambulance. We charge your insurance company. What they don't pay we write off because you're a city tax payer," said Normand.

The department also offers a citizens assistance program or CAP. It offers the elderly a pendant with a 911 dialer. One press of the button and a medic is dispatched with your medical history on board.

"We go out. Our medical EMS chief goes out and does medical history on you so when we arrive and you are incapacitated we can actually find out from your medical history what kind of problems you may have and treat them immediately." explained Normand.

Those services are supported by a 3.27 millage tax. The city would not be creating a new tax, but only asking voters to renew the previous one to keep the same benefits.

If it does not pass, Chief Normand says the city would have to cut training for fire medics and projects aimed at upgrades that are necessary to maintain its fire rating. He is confident that will not happen.

"People really do stand behind our fire department and EMS service here in the city, and I'm proud to be a part of that," said Normand.

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