Wentzville fire district seeks tax increases for upgrades

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by Ray Preston / News 4 and Dan Greenwald / KMOV.com

KMOV.com

Posted on May 27, 2014 at 6:16 PM

Updated Wednesday, May 28 at 5:54 AM

(KMOV.com) – The Wentzville Fire Protection District is seeking a tax increase to make improvements to response times, buy new equipment, and improve training.

Officials told News 4 the area the district covers is growing. It currently covers 88 square miles. Wentzville grew by more than 300 percent between 2000 and 2010. Currently there are plans to build 14 new subdivisions.

Officials said the growth has lengthened the time between when someone calls 911 and when the emergency responder arrives. The district said the current average response time is seven minutes, but in some parts of the city the wait is twice as long. Authorities hope to cut the average response time to four to six minutes.

Taxpayers will be asked to vote in favor of a tax hike that would cost the homeowner of a $200,000 home an additional $95 per year; that money would cover personnel and training costs.

Voters are also being asked to support a bond issue that would raise property taxes by an average of $13 per year to pay for two new fire stations and new equipment. Wentzville has three firehouses and officials said a fire truck with a ladder does not fit into Firehouse 1.

Both the tax increase and bond issue will be voted on August 5. The tax hike requires a simple majority to pass, but the bond issue requires a 4/7 majority to pass.

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