A Letter From the Chief - Kenneth D. Black
The relationship that the citizens and personnel of the Creve Coeur Fire Protection District share is one of mutual respect and admiration. You, the residents, have consistently displayed your support as evidenced by our 98% approval rating and your expressed appreciation for our services. In turn, we continue to be honored to serve you. Among the reasons we have been able to serve our neighborhoods so well is our highly-trained, well-equipped paramedics and firefighters. Whether it be the caliber of employee that we have been able to attract, the continuing education and training we provide to maintain the highest level of proficiency, or the District’s cutting edge equipment-containing apparatus, we have always strived to maintain a high level of service.
Currently, Emergency Medical Services (“EMS”) is approximately 40% of the District’s total expenditures, but generates only 24% of the District’s revenue. This is true despite a 149% increase in emergency responses since 1984. The District has subsidized the expenses for ambulance service from the general fund. The percentage of this subvention has risen from 16% in the eighties to 51% presently. In real numbers that’s $85,640 then, versus $2,689,830 now.
As you may recall, in the Fall 2013 Newsletter, we discussed the important role that EMS plays in the District-wide budget. Since EMS is currently operating from a tax rate set in 1984, which was diminished further by legislative amendments to the Missouri State Constitution, the District has been significantly affected by the imbalance between EMS revenue and expenditures. Despite enacting cost-saving measures, the disparity between revenue and expenditures continues to grow.
In light of the foregoing, we would like to bring to your attention two ballot measures on the upcoming April 8, 2014 ballot that have been proposed in an effort to bridge the budgetary gap. The first ballot measure that will be presented to voters is a twenty-five cent EMS tax increase termed Proposition S; the second ballot measure that will be presented to voters is a 19.5 million dollar bond proposal termed Proposition Y. The purpose of Proposition S is to rectify the gap between EMS revenue and expenditures. The purpose of Proposition Y is to, over time, pave the way for the District to construct new fire station facilities and make updates to vehicles and equipment in the coming years. (See proposed Proposition Y Funds Allocation) Proposition Y is a proposal to take on a fixed amount of debt, where the entire approved amount would not be utilized all at once, but only as needed. Bonds, which are sold on the financial market, will be paid back by tax levy.
The foregoing background information and summary of the ballot measures is being provided for informational purposes only. We will continue to strive to provide the best possible EMS services available with our elite professionals, superior equipment, and state-of-the-art training and protocols and will continue to measure ourselves by the quality and value of those services in a constant effort to keep you and your family safe.