Letter from Chief Moore Regarding Millage Renewals and Parcel Fee
The number one priority of the Mandeville Fire Department (St. Tammany Fire Protection District 4) is to protect the lives and property of our community. As the area encompassing Fire
District 4 has experienced significant economic and population growth in recent years, the Mandeville Fire Department has been called upon to provide emergency services with increased
frequency. After extensive research and evaluation of all options, the Mandeville Fire Department has requested the renewal of two existing millages and the addition of a parcel fee to
fund critical infrastructure, equipment and staffing necessary to provide emergency services to the District. In November we ask that citizens vote in favor of the proposed millage
renewals and parcel fee so that we may continue to provide exceptional emergency services to our community.
The information below addresses some of the most frequently asked questions about Mandeville Fire Department and our proposal. I hope that these will help you to gain a better
understanding of the issues and how critical it is that we do not wait any longer to take action.
- Who does the Mandeville Fire Department serve?
Mandeville Fire serves the area encompassed by St. Tammany Parish Fire Protection District 4, which covers nearly 60,000 citizens in an approximately 70-square-mile area. District 4
provides services to nearly all of the Mandeville community including unincorporated areas. Our boundaries stretch from the Tchefuncte River near Madisonville to the west, the outer
limits of Lacombe to the east, the outer limits of Abita Springs to the north, and to the Parish line on Lake Pontchartrain to the south.
- What services does the Mandeville Fire Department provide?
Mandeville Fire's four fire stations provide all hazard response which includes fire, emergency medical services (EMS), hazardous materials, technical rescue, water rescue, and more.
Our Fire Suppression and Emergency Medical Service Divisions responded to more than 6,200 calls in 2017. The Fire Prevention & Safety Division ensure the safety of our residents by
providing education and resources through community programming.
- How is the Mandeville Fire Department funded?
Mandeville Fire is not funded by St. Tammany Parish or any other governing body. It is a self-funded entity with an operating budget solely funded by property taxes.
- How many stations does Mandeville Fire currently have?
Mandeville Fire has four stations that provide emergency services to a nearly 70-square-mile area. The four existing stations are now obsolete as their locations were set prior to the
population expansion caused by Hurricane Katrina and recent economic growth. The oldest station is 54 years old, and the newest has been in use for 30 years.
- Why are the bond renewals and parcel fee necessary?
Minimum response times and adequate staffing are the most critical factors when it comes to saving lives and property, and Mandeville Fire is increasingly struggling to meet growing
demands. Due to the high population and large area, we have been unable to meet the minimum response time (5 minutes, 20 seconds) and staffing needs appropriate for every call. Some of
the most heavily impacted areas include Hwy. 22 in the area of Beau Chene to the River, North on 190 above Lakeview Hospital, and Hwy. 1088 to I-12.
We have carefully evaluated the specific improvements that are necessary as well as all options for generating the revenue needed to make those improvements. After exhausting all
options, it was determined that the bond renewals and parcel fee are the only feasible avenues to generate the necessary funding for additional fire stations, equipment, and emergency
personnel. All other avenues would require legislative action at the state level which would take years when time is of the essence.
- What will the money be used for?
Mandeville Fire will use the $75 parcel fee to fund bonds of 6 million dollars to build two new stations in District 4, purchase equipment for those stations, and pay personnel to
operate those stations. The two new stations will be strategically placed to relieve some of the most heavily impacted areas of District 4. This will improve response times and
emergency personnel staffing across the entire District as resources will no longer have to be pulled from other stations to meet critical needs.
- How has rapid population growth affected the Mandeville Fire Department's ability to serve citizens?
Since 2004, the population of District 4 has grown by approximately 15,000 citizens, and call volume has increased by approximately 70 percent. While the population has directly
increased the risk to life and property, the resources to fund emergency response have not increased at the same rate.
Population density is the key factor when determining risk in an area. The higher the density, the higher the risk to life and property. An increase in population density means more
traffic and higher call volume. An increase in traffic makes it difficult for emergency personnel to get to emergencies quickly, increasing the likelihood of loss of life and/or
property. Increased call volume also puts a strain on Mandeville Fire's highly-skilled personnel. At times resources must be reallocated from stations further away to meet emergency
needs, which also impacts response time.
It is important to note that all citizens of District 4 are at increased risk due to the current strain on resources. As personnel are increasingly pulled from other stations to meet
demands, even areas within close proximity to existing fire stations may experience slower response times.
Risk to the lives and property of our citizens is not something that we take lightly, nor are financial matters. I am certain that additional funding is critical to maintaining the
quality of emergency services our citizens expect and deserve. Otherwise we would not have made this request. Rest assured that the Mandeville Fire Department will continue to be
responsible stewards of the tax dollars you have entrusted to us. Thank you for your time and consideration of this important matter. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to
Chief Kenneth Moore
Mandeville Fire Department