BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) – The federal government is providing more than $ 1.5 million in disaster loans from the 2016 flood for three fire departments in the Baton Rouge area, Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA) told WAFB.
Rep. Graves says the lending he fought for was included in the government’s stopgap solution passed in the US House of Representatives earlier this month, which included reconstruction funding for Hurricane Ida.
Fire departments used the loans during the 2016 flood to keep paying firefighters as taxes were suspended.
The following Fire departments have waived their loans:
- Central Fire Prevention District # 4, $ 770,299.35
- East Side Fire Prevention District # 5, $ 581,657.42
- East Baton Rouge Fire Prevention District No. 6, $ 216,339.73
“This loan repayment affects every single person in our community. After a disaster, local governments suffer financially from tax implications and emergency aid increases. That means more needs with less money. Rescue efforts were critical and not an option during the 2016 flood – these fire departments should not be punished for their heroic work. At that time, they had to keep people on the payroll and provide emergency services. The waiver of these loans will ease an ongoing large financial burden and the budget flexibility will allow the fire department districts to provide better service, equipment, training and technology for future deployment efforts. This will ultimately improve first responder efforts and help protect lower home insurance rates while keeping any risk to fire rates at bay. This is a good win that we are happy to bring to the finish line and we will continue to work with officials for the support they need, ”said Graves.
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