Op-Ed: A "Yes" on Proposition F Means Fire Trucks and More
While the infusion of $25 million will not address every identified critical capital need in the city, it is fiscally responsible to act now and not raise taxes. City firefighters provide vital services to the community. However, the last time firefighters received any substantial capital equipment was 17 years ago, through the 1999 GO bond issue.
"We are in dire need right now," says Demetris "Al" Alfred, president of Firefighters Local 73. "Our trucks are old and are in need of repairs. We don't have a full line of reserves to keep pace with equipment failures. The guys have to wait while the truck is being repaired, which means that some areas aren't covered or may not be covered while repairs are being done.
"When you order apparatus, it takes a year, so you're looking at the earliest 2017. Frankly, we need something sooner," he noted.
Taxes will not increase because bonds can be issued using the current tax levy. To lessen financial burdens on residents during the past recession, city leaders decreased the tax levy and reduced property taxes. The tax levy dropped from a high 30 cents to a low 13 cents today.
I'm confident that St. Louisans will support our firefighters and help the city address crucial capital needs by voting "yes" for Prop F, the $25 million GO bond issue. Citizens won't see higher real estate taxes, capital improvements can be made, and firefighters can receive essential equipment to better serve the community. A "yes" means we all win.
The Comptroller of the city of St. Louis is charged with protecting the credit of the city and with being a watchdog over taxpayer dollars.
Office of the Comptroller