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Metro West voters OK tax hike

By: Jim Erickson

By a 205-vote margin, voters in the Metro West Fire Protection District approved a tax hike for the district’s ambulance fund.

In Nov. 7 balloting, 2,945 voted for the measure, known as Proposition V, while 2,740 opposed it. With the approval, the district’s ambulance fund tax levy will increase 17 cents per $100 assessed valuation on real estate and personal property.

The increase will apply to taxes levied late next year to fund operations in 2019.

In addition to the ambulance fund, the district also has tax levies for its general fund, retirement fund, dispatching operations and for debt service. The total for all funds now is 99.5 cents per $100 assessed valuation for taxes to pay for 2018 operations.

“With the passage of Proposition V, the fire district will be able to provide continued and unmatched services to our residents and remain a leader in providing emergency care in our community,” said Tim Flora, who heads the Metro West Board of Directors. “We can now also prepare for the future. I can say with absolute certainty that the men and women of our fire district, who serve our community daily with professionalism, pride and dedication, are appreciative of the passage of Proposition V.”

In information released before the vote, Metro West officials said the district last asked for an increase in its ambulance fund tax levy 31 years ago. During that period, emergency calls have more than tripled from 2,200 annually [in 1986] to 7,600 in 2016. Some 80 percent of those service requests involve advanced life support operations funded by the ambulance tax levy.

In a statement thanking Metro West voters, Chief Mike Krause said, “I am humbled by the incredible support of this community with the passage of Prop V and I’m honored to serve where I live and have grown up.

“While the election is over, our commitment to excellence in service to this community is only reinvigorated. We will continue to add value every day … in everything we do.  We will be leaders in the community and within our industry providing only the highest level of service.”

Metro West serves a 57.5-square-mile area that includes all or portions of Ballwin, Ellisville, Chesterfield, Clarkson Valley, Castlewood, Wildwood, Sherman, Winchester and parts of unincorporated St. Louis County.

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