|By Susan Weich, St. Louis Post-Dispatch|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
If approved, taxes for
Balke said the city is in financial trouble due to a downturn in revenue and can no longer afford to run the department. Several public meetings have been held to inform residents. The move would save the city about
Balke said this year the city has a
"If it doesn't get approved we're going to have to look for other ways to cut the budget," she said.
The measure requires a simple majority to pass; it does not need the approval of taxpayers in the
None of the
Since 2008, a drop in home values has meant about
To make ends meet, the district has been tapping its reserves, Seppelt said.
The district wants to increase its property tax rate by
"This year we've cut or frozen every line item on our budget with the exception of training and vehicle maintenance," he said. "This is basically to keep us in the black."
In addition, the district wants to borrow
Seppelt said the district's three front-line ambulances have 100,000 miles on them, and the three backup units are at 180,000 miles. The district's reserve fire engine is 20 years old.
"We need to continue to purchase the equipment the guys need," he said.
The city of
Tax hike proposals in two other fire protection districts --
The measure requires a simple majority for approval.
It would cost the owner of a
The increased funding would allow the district to build three new bases, buy three new ambulances and hire 18 paramedics, he said.
The district now runs five ambulances out of four bases, and the average response time is nearly 14 minutes. With the expansion, Antonocci said they hope to reduce response to eight minutes.
Outdated facilities and equipment are the reason the
The bond issue would raise property tax rates by
The district would issue the bonds in phases and initially use the money to rebuild the fire house on
The district also would renovate its second fire house on
If passed, the tax on a home worth
He said the district's budget was hit hard by a decision by the
"We had to refund back to the casino
He said the last rate increase for the ambulance fund was in 1986. The hike would raise
Like many of the other fire protection districts in north
The district is seeking a tax hike of
Miner said the increase would be used to maintain service.
"Basically, costs continue to rise and assessments are dropping, which is why we need the additional revenue," he said.
The measure requires a simple majority to pass.
If voters approve a
Dabbs said when the house is staffed, firefighters are on the trucks and out the door in less than a minute, but when volunteers have to respond, it may be as long as seven minutes before firefighters are on the way.
In addition, the district would hire an assistant chief/fire marshal to help with the fire prevention bureau, inspections and fire education, Dabbs said.
The money also would fund the completion of the district's training facility, which was started three years ago but has been stalled by a lack of money.
Officials in the
The two proposals would enable the district to build two new fire stations and buy the needed apparatus, hire 24 additional firefighters and a full-time training officer. Fire Chief
The expanded coverage would allow firefighters to reduce response times to calls.
The funding also would allow for the renovation of two of the current fire houses, which currently can barely accommodate the larger fire trucks, Marlo said.
Older equipment also would be replaced at those stations.
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