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Bond Issue on O’Fallon Fire Protection District Ballot

Fire officials say the $10.9-million bond issue would allow for repairs to older vehicles and buildings.

The is asking voters to approve a bond issue on the Tuesday's ballot.

District spokesman Scott Avery said the proposed $10.9-million bond issue, called Proposition HOPE, would allow the district to purchase new pumper trucks, upgrade the district’s five fire stations and fund needed repairs to equipment.

Avery said the bond issue would require an estimated property tax increase of approximately seven cents per $100 assessed valuation. This means homeowners with $200,000 homes would pay an additional $26.60 per year. The O’Fallon Fire Protection District has not had a tax increase since 1999. 

“We have the exact same infrastructure that we had at the turn of the century and only two of our eight fire trucks were bought in the last 10 years—one in 2001 and the latter in 2006,” Avery said. “We need to keep up our infrastructure so that we can continue to protect the citizens of the community.”

District officials said Station 1 at 119 East Elm in O’Fallon, which was built in the late 1940s and last renovated in ’88, needs updating and the station on Bryan road needs concrete replacements to sections of the driveway.

Bob Cerrano, the district’s financial director, said each of the district’s five of stations are in need of some sort of renovations including new roofs and concrete work because most were built in the 1990s.

The fire protection district also hopes to make upgrades to its fire trucks. The National Fire Protection Association recommends vehicle equipment be replaced every 10 to 15 years. Avery said some of the fire protection district’s vehicles are nearly 20 years old.

District officials said they would like to purchase a high volume tanker, which holds 3,000 gallons of water. Right now the district’s largest truck holds 1,000 gallons of water. Avery said this is a problem when they receive calls to St. Paul on the northern end of town, where water is available to only about 10 percent of the area. 

As the city continues to grow, district officials say they will monitor calls and consider building another station in the future. Right now the district has three stations south of 70 and one volunteer station in the St. Paul area.

“The new fire station would depend on the calls we receive for service and the construction that happens,” Avery said. “If we stay at the current levels then we would not have the need until the calls increase. The problem is last year we saw a 1.7 percent increase in calls north of I-70, so it depends on what happens in the future.”

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