People living in Stonewall are using these last hours to decide the fate of the town.
Not only do residents have to decide who will be the town’s next mayor, they also have to vote on two parish tax millage.
The Desoto Parish Fire District 3 seeks the passage of a 15 mills tax. That will increase its current budget from $190,000 per year to $390,000 per year, according to Greg Baker, chairman of the board. The extra funds will be used to hire part-time fire fighters to run the station during the daytime, seven days a week. Currently, the station is run by volunteers, who all work during the day.
“We’re not able to guarantee fire protection during the day because they’re all working. We feel the need to have paid people here during the day time to produce adequate protection for homeowners,” said Baker.
If you’re home is assessed for $175,000, this tax millage would increase your property taxes by $1,150. If your home is assessed for $75,000 or less, due to the homestead exemption, you wouldn’t have to pay anything.
Stephen McCoy knows first-hand why it's important to have paid firefighters. He lost everything in a house fire six weeks ago. Although he lives down the street from the DeSoto Parish District 3 fire station, he said it took 15 to 20 minutes for Caddo Parish District 6 firefighters to respond. His local firefighters came later because no one works at the station during the day.
“They deserve to get paid for what they do. 100 percent. For the way they put their lives on the line, the way they save people’s lives and the things they do to help us in the community. We definitely need this fire tax to pass,” said Stephen McCoy.
There are two candidates for Stonewall mayor and eight candidates for Stonewall Town Council. Residents will have to vote for five out of the eight town council candidates. The two mayoral candidates are incumbent Charles Waldon; the other candidate is Charles Hicks.
Click here for more information on the two candidates: http://bit.ly/1lx8vgf
All Desoto Parish residents will also decide whether they want to keep their local animal shelter and mosquito spray services. A 1.5 tax millage is on the ballot. If it doesn’t pass, officials say the Desoto Animal and Mosquito Control department will close. That’s due to a 40 percent decline in revenue since the Haynesville Shale left the area. If a person’s property is assessed for $150,000, it would cost them $113 per year.
The polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. Stay with NBC 6 for the results and reaction.