Donaldsonville City Council introduces $7 monthly fee for fire department

Michael Tortorich

The Donaldsonville City Council introduced an ordinance providing for a fee of $7 a month for every residential and commercial account to defray the cost of the fire department.

The Donaldsonville City Council stands for the invocation during the May 25 meeting.

Council members have said the additional funding is needed to offset the costs associated with the increased number of calls for service for the fire department. 

Donaldsonville first responders received about 1,800 calls last year. 

Firefighters regularly respond to medical and fire calls within the city limits and areas in and around west Ascension Parish.

Officials have pointed out that the department’s total calls per year have roughly tripled in the past two decades.

In late 2019, the fire department staff - comprised of both paid and volunteer firefighters - moved into a new 10,000-square-foot fire station along Marchand Drive.

The new station was in the planning for about 20 years, as voters approved a five-mill, 10-year property tax to fund the $2 million project. The tax was approved three times in the 2002, 2012, and 2018 elections.

More recently, the council approved the purchase of a new fire truck for the fire department during the April 27 meeting.

The truck, ordered through a state contract, totaled $356,423.

During the public-comment section of the meeting last week, Ascension Parish Council District 1 representative Alvin “Coach” Thomas asked about the city’s plan for the fee.

He expressed concerns over the affordability of the monthly fee for residents who are unemployed or on fixed incomes.

 “We have to make decisions that are really not comfortable,” Chair Charles Brown said.

A public hearing will be held during the June 22 meeting, which will begin at 6 p.m.