April 10, 2013 - The purchase of a new 75-foot aerial ladder truck from Banner Fire Equipment was approved last week by the Mehlville Fire Protection District Board of Directors.
Board members voted 2-0 to approve the $650,750 purchase of the E-One vehicle. Board Chairman Aaron Hilmer was absent from the April 3 meeting.
Chief Brian Hendricks recommended the purchase of the 75-foot aerial ladder truck, noting Banner's bid as initially submitted was $731,950.
"... When we look at a (bid) specification like this for compliance, there are things that we must have," he said. "There are things that we would like to have.
"What we did with the specification is we looked at it, we went through it line by line, and we started asking questions like, '(Are) there ways we can accomplish our goal, but do it perhaps cheaper?' ... In going through the specification, I am happy to report that we will be able to purchase this vehicle not for $731,950, but for $650,750, which is a savings of over $80,000.
"We are not sacrificing anything. We are not sacrificing safety. We're not sacrificing performance. We are getting everything we want, everything that will serve this district very well for 10 to 15 years. So it is my recommendation that the board approve the purchase of the aerial apparatus from Banner Fire Equipment for $650,750 ...," the chief added.
Hendricks praised Deputy Chief Dan Furrer "in assisting myself and really spearheading the apparatus replacement. It's sometimes a thankless job. It takes a lot of hours, a lot of time. It's very labor intensive, and I'd just like the board to know that I appreciate very much that I can make recommendations based on a lot of times the hard work that he does ..."
Banner Fire Equipment's bid for the ladder truck was the only one submitted.
In a separate matter, board Treasurer Bonnie Stegman and board Secretary Ed Ryan voted to approve 2013 nonbinding tax rates for the district.
The board establishes the district's tax rate each September, but Senate Bill 711, which was adopted in 2008, "requires all political subdivisions to submit projected nonbinding tax rates to the county clerk's office by April the 8th," Chief Financial Officer Brian Bond said.
"In other words, we're not held to this information," he said. "This won't impact the final action the board takes later in the year in September, but it is just a projection, an estimate of if we were to have to set the tax rate today, what would that tax rate look like? The county will then use that information and they will provide estimates to taxpayers somewhere in the May to June time frame ..."
The approved 2013 nonbinding "blended" tax rate is 70.8 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. The current "blended" tax rate is 70.7 cents per $100. The "blended" tax rate is not levied, but used for state calculations.
The approved 2013 nonbinding tax rates for the general, alarm and pension funds are: 62.5 cents, 4.5 cents and 3.8 cents, respectively. The current tax rates for the general, alarm and pension funds are: 62.5 cents, 4.4 cents and 3.8 cents, respectively.
The district's assessed valuation has decreased $27 million, according to Bond.
"... In the past six months, the assessed values for the Mehlville Fire District have decreased $27 million, primarily because of a $52 million decrease in residential real estate, offset by some increases in commercial real estate and agricultural and personal property that have helped to minimize the impact of the $52 million reduction in residential real estate, which is the largest tax base that we have to levy our tax against," he said.
"... The impact of this decrease in assessed values ... would translate to $170,000 of less tax revenue as opposed to what we went through just six months ago. So if we had to establish the tax rates today, we'd be looking at $170,000 fewer in tax revenue to meet the needs for the 2014 budget," Bond said.