Call the Tune: Former MFPD candidate serving up sour grapes

By Mike Anthony

By Mike Anthony

It’s always amusing when failed candidates attempt to serve up some sour grapes by criticizing those who defeated them in an election.

That’s the case this week with a letter to the editor from P.J. Polizzi of Concord, who attempted to unseat Mehlville Fire Protection District Board of Directors Treasurer Bonnie Stegman in the April election.

Readers may recall that despite his supporters pumping more than $45,000 into his campaign and manning practically every polling place on Election Day, Mr. Polizzi was trounced by Mrs. Stegman, who received nearly 57 percent of the vote.

As we’ve written before, Mr. Polizzi, who appears to have a high opinion of himself, was surprised at the outcome. We weren’t.

In his letter, Mr. Polizzi complains the board recently voted to roll up the tax rate by — gasp — 3 cents to 59.3 cents per $100 of assessed valuation.

He seems to forget that voter approval of two tax-decrease measures — Proposition 1 and Proposition 2 — in April reduced the district’s tax-rate ceiling by 40 cents. That’s 40 cents that never can be levied.

We also wonder where Mr. Polizzi was back in 2005 when a previous board planned to levy a tax rate of nearly $1.20 per $100.

In his letter, he alleges: “There was no opportunity for public comment.”

That’s funny, this newspaper attended that meeting and we saw no one from the public — including Mr. Polizzi — in attendance, only board members and district employees.

Also included in his litany of sour grapes is the fact that the district dipped into reserves last year. That’s true, but the deficit resulted from construction of the district’s new No. 2 firehouse, which was built without a tax-rate increase or a bond issue.

For a retired accountant, Mr. Polizzi doesn’t appear to have a good grasp of government finance. He writes that this newspaper should call for an outside audit of the district’s finances.

The fact is the district pays for an independent audit of its finances each year. The board voted unanimously in June to approve the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, audited by Hochschild, Bloom and Co. for the year ending Dec. 31, 2008, in which the district received an “unqualified opinion” — the best possible opinion that can be given.

The entire report is available at

. In light of Mr. Polizzi’s claims, we encourage readers to download the audit and then decide who is duping whom.