Central County Fire & Rescue seeks approval of Prop F by St. Charles County voters
The largest fire district in St. Charles County says county’s population boom is leading to increased demand of emergency services.
ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) -St. Charles County’s largest fire district will seek the approval of voters to renew $16 million in bonds for capital improvement projects, as the number of calls for service continues to rise.
In 2021, Central County Fire and Rescue responded to nearly 7,000 calls for service. By the end of 2022, it estimates that number will be higher than 7,500 calls, said Deputy Fire Chief Jason Meinershagen.
“We’re trying to be cognizant of what the needs are going to be in the future,” he said. “Calls for service continue to climb every year as St. Charles County sees more development, both commercially and residential.”
The fire district first approached voters in 2009 and the SAFE-T plan was created, which included the passage of bonds for capital expenses. In 2015, the bonds were renewed by voters, allowing the fire district to make improvements to buildings and infrastructure, as well as equipment and fire trucks.
Proposition F, set to be on the November ballot, is a no-tax-increase initiative, seeking voters’ approval for the renewal of the bonds once again.
If approved, Meinershagen said improvements will be made to two firehouses, suffering from leaks in the ceiling and crumbling asphalt near the garage doors. The firehouses are more than 20 years old.
Additionally, money will be invested in the district’s training center in St. Peters, with hopes for an indoor classroom to be constructed to allow classes and training to take place in one location.
“Training is what it’s all about,” he said. “It comes down to ensuring our firefighters can handle any kind of emergency, anything from a fire to a flood to a car crash to a medical incident. We are the community’s toolbox.”
Central County Fire and Rescue currently has around ten firetrucks in its fleet. Several were purchased in 2015 and Meinershagen said with increased call volume, and more time on the road, they’re beginning to show their wear and tear.
“Firetrucks, like any personal vehicle, hit a point where you’re spending more to maintain and keep them operational than if you were to replace it and have a warranty,” he said.
The average firetruck costs about $900,000, and if Proposition F is approved, new trucks would likely not be ordered until the spring of 2023. With production delays, Meinershagen said it’s likely the fire district wouldn’t see the new trucks until close to 2025, when the trucks will be ten years old.
“We’re looking to the future, so it’s not necessarily that we need it right now but we’re trying to think of what the needs are going to be in the future and anticipating our community continues to grow,” he said.
Central County Fire and Rescue provides emergency services to nearly 100,000 people over 80 square miles across St. Charles County.
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