Feds forgive 2016 flood disaster loans for 3 BR area fire districts, Rep. Graves says

Safety, fire ratings will be increased; home insurance rates will be lower, according to congressman
Published: Oct. 20, 2021 at 4:40 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The federal government is forgiving more than $1.5 million in disaster loans from the 2016 flood for three Baton Rouge area fire districts, Rep. Garret Graves (R - LA) tells WAFB.

Rep. Graves says the loan forgiveness he fought for was included in the stopgap emergency government funding passed in the U.S. House earlier this month, which included Hurricane Ida recovery funding.

The fire districts used the loans during the 2016 Flood to keep paying firefighters as taxes were suspended.

The following fire districts had their loans forgiven:

  • Central Fire Protection District No. 4, $770,299.35
  • East Side Fire Protection District No. 5, $581,657.42
  • East Baton Rouge Fire Protection District No. 6, $216,339.73

“This loan repayment impacts every single person in our community. In the aftermath of a disaster, local governments take a hit financially through tax impacts and there is a surge in immediate emergency response. This means greater need with less money. The rescue efforts were critical during the 2016 Flood and not an option – these fire districts should not be penalized for their heroic work. At the time, they needed to keep folks on the payroll and provide emergency services. Forgiving these loans will alleviate a lingering major financial burden and the budget flexibility will allow the fire districts to provide better service, equipment, training, and technology for future response efforts. This will ultimately provide better first responder efforts and help protect lower home insurance rates while keeping at bay any risk to the fire ratings.This is a good win that we’re excited to get across the finish line, and we will keep working with officials for the support they need,” Graves said.

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