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Voters to consider police/fire tax renewal

The Bossier Parish History Center hold early voting. (Stacey Tinsley/Press-Tribune)

This Saturday, Bossier City voters will be asked to decide on a measure that will have a direct impact on the quality of public safety in Bossier City and on the men and women who are charged with keeping the citizens of Bossier City safe. 

Stacey Tinsley/Bossier Press-Tribune
A sign supporting Saturday’s tax renewal can be seen near the Bossier City Municipal Complex.

Voters will be asked to renew a 6.19 mill property tax that will generate $3.9 million annually for police and fire department operations. This tax is dedicated exclusively by the voters to fund the salaries of police officers, firefighters and emergency medical personnel.

“We need those monies to keep the size of the force in the police and fire departments that we have and provide the level of service that we have which, in my opinion, is second to none in the state,” said Bossier City Mayor Lorenz “Lo” Walker.

The election date was originally set for May, but was postponed twice due to the  COVID-19 pandemic.

The levy that was passed by voters in 2010 was for 6.00 mills. That millage is periodically evaluated and adjusted by the tax assessor for changes in property values and reassessments. 

Currently residents pay 6.19 mills and have done so since 2017 following the tax assessor’s most recent evaluation. In terms of dollars and cents, a property owner with a home that has an assessed value of $100,000 currently pays $61.90 a year under the current rate of 6.19 mils.

“If the proposition fails, it would be about a two million dollar hit to salaries per year which is 20 police officers or roughly 10% of the force,” said Bossier City Police Chief Shane McWilliams.

If approved, the 6.19 mills would be renewed for ten years beginning with the year 2021 and ending with the year 2030. 

“We’re running five ambulances right now and we have the staffing to do it where we used to run four. And we’re at the point where we’ve had to stand up a sixth to get them where they can get back in service.” “If the proposition does not pass, it would mean a loss of 20 firefighters and the shutdown of ambulances.” Zagone thanks Bossier City residents in advance for their support and adds that, “firefighters are on the front lines risking their lives now more than ever and have not faltered in the level of care and service they provide to customers,” said Bossier City Fire Chief Brad Zagone.

Walker asks residents to, “Get out and vote and express their acknowledgement of the outstanding departments that Bossier City has.”

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