BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — East Baton Rouge emergency responders are asking for the community’s support in a tax renewal for the next decade.
An EMS spokesperson says on average, ambulance vehicles have an average life expectancy of about five years. Come Saturday, residents will have to decide if East Baton Rouge emergency response teams will receive the funding necessary to improve and expand their services.
A $3.13 million millage renewal will impact homeowners over the next 10 years. Although Brad Harris, a spokesperson for East Baton Rouge EMS, says the tax is nothing new it’s especially important since their budget is separate from fire and police.
“That equates to about $0.30 per thousand dollars of tax assessed on your house. So, it averages out to just around $25 per household,” said Harris.
It also allows first responders to do public outreach and events like CPR training and school visits to teach kids about 911 safety.
“This tax millage accounts for about half of our operating budget, so it pays for the paramedic’s salaries as well as the supplies that we use on a regular basis. And our ambulances that are on the streets,” said Harris.
EMS officials say they get about 70,000 calls each year, but that number is expected to increase as the population size of East Baton Rouge continues to grow.
“So, to keep up with that supply and demand, we’re going to have to increase our fleet. We’re going to increase our staffing, increase our supply. So, we really do need this money to continue growing and expanding along with East Baton Rouge EMS,” said Harris.
Harris says he hopes everyone will vote “yes” for EMS on election day because this tax impacts people outside of East Baton Rouge too.
“EMS is the only A-list pre-hospital provider in the East Baton Rouge Parish. We cover the entire parish, not just Baton Rouge. So that includes Zachary, Baker, and Central. So, it’s imperative that this passes.”
Officials say this tax has been in place for over 40 years. Election Day is this Saturday, Oct. 14th.