(KMOV) – Voters in St. Charles approved of a $30 million dollar bond issue to build two new fire stations, but turned down a property tax hike which would have provided funds to hire firefighters for the new stations.
“I think we are going to need to get back out in the community and get the feedback on why one was more important,” said Assistant Chief John Schneider. “More and more people we spoke to at the polls said it was too much to ask for two propositions.”
“Prop F”, the $30 million dollar bond issued, passed at 58% voter approval, one percentage point less and it would have been vetoed. However, voters turned down “Prop L” which would have been the tax hike required to staff the fire stations.
“Prop F” allows the district to borrow the $30 million dollars by issuing $5 million dollars in bonds for the next six years. $20 million was planned to build and outfit the two fire stations. Since “Prop L” did not pass, the money will be used to replace old equipment reaching its expiration date.
“We have trucks that are approaching 100,000 miles, and 700 hours which is a lot of hours for those trucks,” Schneider said. “100,000 miles doesn’t sound like a lot of miles, but it’s the hours. (The trucks) will sit there at a house fire and run, pumping all evening.”
The Wentzville Fire Protection District covers 88 square miles. Fire officials say they hoped additional fire houses would enable them to reach 93% of the homes in less than eight minutes and reduce response time by 60%.
Officials say they will meet together to decide about possibly purchasing additional property.