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May 19, 2010 7:20 PM by Sarah Rosario

Sunset Fire Department Woes

The Sunset Volunteer Fire Department is worried about their survival. Members say they are not being paid money owed to them by the city. The volunteer fire department has since called on higher powers to make it happen. Attorney General Buddy Caldwell was asked his opinion on the issue three years ago. He responded February 24, 2010, in a letter to Sunset Volunteer Fire Chief Kevin Smith saying, two percent of Sunset homeowners insurance is supposed to go to the fire department. That money is fire insurance rebates authorized by the state.

The problem is that's not happening. Sunset Volunteer Fire Department president, Chester Richard says the city is taking that money and putting it in their budget, "They are getting anywhere from eight to $10.000 that's supposed to come here, he said.

Sunset's mayor Cicil Lavergne says that's not true. "We fund them approximately $40.000 a year," he said. Lavergne says the city pays for everything; electricity, water, gasoline and more. "It's just something to make the town look bad and I'm not going to participate in that," said Lavergne.

The Attorney General's letter states the two percent homeowner's insurance tax is supposed to be given on top of whatever is given to the fire department already. "If they present us with what they need, we'd be more than happy to look at it and let the board decide," said Lavergne.

The two entities have had an ongoing disagreement about money. The council meets every Thursday. Both hope to come to an agreement soon.

If you live in sunset and would like to give to the volunteer fire department there is a box you can check at the bottom of your utility bill to give a dollar.

Sarah Rosario
srosario@katctv.com

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