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With approval of $14.1 million bond issue, Lindbergh ready to hit the ground running


With approval of $14.1 million bond issue, Lindbergh ready to hit the ground running

By MIKE ANTHONY

Executive Editor

With voter approval of Proposition 4, the Lindbergh School District is ready to hit the ground running as work will be done this summer on resolving traffic-flow and parking problems on the high school campus.

District voters last week approved Proposition 4, a $14.1 million bond issue designed to address safety issues at all of the district's schools.

A four-sevenths majority — 57.14 percent — was required for approval of the measure, which received 4,908 "yes'' votes — 57.67 percent — and 3,603 "no'' votes — 42.33 percent. Of the district's 34,461 registered voters, 8,575 — 24.88 — cast ballots in the April 8 election.

from the directors and the chief of the district.''

"The most important issue facing the Mehlville Fire Protection District is the lack of competent, accountable and mature leadership,'' Mikolay said. "Much of this has contributed to the second most important issue — deficit spending of the fire district's budget and reserves. These two issues are equally important because without them you cannot operate effectively.''

Asked to identify the most important issue in the race, Stegman said, "Balance the budget. If the district keeps deficit spending, services and residents will suffer.''

Gaterman, 65, 4128 Ringer Road, 63129, worked 28 years for the Mehlville Fire Protection District and served as chief from January 1992 to June 1998 when he retired. He and his wife, Nan, have two grown sons, one of whom serves as a firefighter with the Mehlville Fire Protection District.

After his retirement, Gaterman was appointed to the Board of Directors when member Bob Pennick resigned. Gaterman served on the board from June 1998 until April 1999 when Daniel Ottoline Sr. was elected to serve the remaining two years of Pennick's six-year term.

He said he is seeking election "to im-prove relations between the residents and employees of the district.''

Mikolay, 62, 2327 England Town Road, 63129, is a personnel analyst and investigator for the St. Louis Psychiatric Rehab-ilitation Center. A widower, he has three grown children.

Mikolay has served on the St. Louis Community College Board of Trustees since 1998 and previously served a three-year term on the Mehlville Board of Edu-cation.

He is seeking election because "I want the people to have a choice. In the past, there has usually been one candidate for the director position and that person would get elected by default. This election, the people will have a choice — a choice between someone who is connected with a fire district and someone who is connected to the community. The Mehlville Fire District is in a financial dilemma — they are spending more money than they take in every year. As a result, they have spent down our reserve money. I love the Mehl-ville community; it has been good to me and my family for the past 27 years.

"I want to give something back to the com-munity so it will remain good for others. The Mehlville Fire Protection District provides good ambulance and fire protection service. I want it to remain that way.''

Stegman, 49, 6039 Cardinal Creek Drive, 63129, is a registered nurse and serves as emergency medical services coordinator for St. Anthony's Medical Center. She is married to John Stegman.

Stegman previously ran for the board in 1999 when Ottoline was elected to fill Pennick's unexpired term. She said she is seeking election because "I feel the present board is not moving in a positive director for the district.''

The three candidates gave the following responses to a Call questionnaire:

Do you agree with the direction the district is moving under the leadership of Chief Ray Haddock?

Gaterman said, "No, I believe there was min-imal financial planning on projects — such as the new administration build-ing/five house renovation and the purchasing of equipment. There seems to be minimal input from anyone but the chief of the department.''

Mikolay said, "No, and apparently the employees do not either since their vote of no confidence back in September 2002. I am not familiar with the chief's work performance, however, based on his managing the finances of the fire district I do not agree with the deficit spending. I believe the current directors mean well, but they have let the fire chief do whatever he wants without considering the long-range consequences. I believe the directors have been on the board so long that they could not see the financial problems coming.''

Stegman said, "I believe the district has been heading in the wrong direction. There appears that not much planning for the future of the district has occurred.''

Is a tax-rate increase needed for the Mehlville fire Protection District?

Gaterman said, "No, not until other fi-nancial problems are addressed and corrected and the district reviews its monetary problems.''

Mikolay said, "No, I would not support any tax increase at this time. Instead, I will propose a freeze on hiring, promotions and any new expenses until the deficit spending ceases. The fire district has plenty of assessed valuation. In fact, there is plenty of new construction within the fire district — South County mall, Costco, Target, etc.) What is needed is a determined effort by the board and the fire district to put an end to the current spending spree. Once the public sees that the fire district has their house in order, they will regain the confidence of their own employees and the public.''

Stegman said, "No. I believe that by being fiscally responsible and developing other sources of revenue, that the district can continue and improve services without a tax increase.''

Has the Board of Directors complied fully with the Sunshine Law? What will you do as a board member to ensure compliance with the Sunshine Law?

Gaterman said, "No, my past experience as a chief and board member is that closed meetings should be held to a minimum and in strict compliance with the Sunshine

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