Lake St. Louis Fire Protection District asking for tax increase -

Lake St. Louis Fire Protection District asking for tax increase

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Credit: KMOV Credit: KMOV

Residents in Lake St. Louis are being asked to decide whether they want to approve two propositions which will increase taxes but also help fund budget problems for the fire department.

Proposition Safety is an $8 million bond issue while Proposition Life is an 18 cent tax increase.

“We’re in desperate need.  We can’t stretch out budget any thinner than where it’s already at,” Lake St. Louis Fire Chief Clinton Gussner said. “We’ve pretty much cut all the meat off the bone. We’re down to the bare minimum on everything.”

Chief Gussner says just about everything the department has is outdated.  That includes gear, which is unsafe to wear, and trucks, which are well passed their expiration date.

“Our front line truck is 18-years-old.  Our reserve truck is 18-years-old.  (Another one) is 25-years- old.  The average life expectancy for a truck is 15 years and then they’re supposed to be taken out of service,” Gussner said.

Lake St. Louis is also trying to consolidate its two fire stations into one convenient location.  A new one will allow them to have better response time to emergencies.  Right now they are usually unable to reach many locations in five minutes, which is standard. 

The problem is many people are not on board with a tax increase.

“A lot of residents feel like they aren’t using the money that they’ve been allotted as well as they could.  So I’m going to have to vote no as much as I hate to do that,” resident Jane Ingle said.

Chief Gussner is planning on putting the proposed tax increase on the November ballot if it does not pass on Tuesday.  He says they’ll continue to put it on until it eventually goes through.

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