Jefferson County, MO – The Jefferson County Labor Club has endorsed Antonia Fire Protection District’s “Proposition Fire Safety,” a 50-cent property tax to protect the jobs of 14 fire fighters on the Nov. 7 election ballot.
The Antonia Fire Protection District provides emergency services to 36 square miles of fast growing northeastern Jefferson County and currently operates with two full-time fire stations and one volunteer fire station.
“The demand for our services has increased, and for the past six years, the cost of these services has continually outpaced our revenues,” Fire Chief Michael Arnhart said. “The number of emergency responses has increased, and operating costs have increased as well.”
Since 1998, Arnart said, the cost of fire trucks and fire fighter protective gear has nearly doubled.
In March of this year, the fire district was awarded a federal SAFER Grant to pay for hiring 14 fire fighters, allowing the district to place four fire fighters on each fire truck, but the grant is only for two years. Proposition Fire Safety will allow the district to maintain current staffing levels, with all three fire stations staffed around the clock to reduce response times during emergencies, reducing the districts Insurance Services Office (ISO) rating and resulting in lower premiums for residents.
If approved, the measure would cost the owner of a $100,000 home about $8 a month.