Duncan wants to combat increasing costs to AFPD by discussing boundary change

City’s payment to fire district goes up more than $100,000

By Kari Williams

One Crestwood alderman would like to discuss changing the city’s boundaries to combat increased costs from the area of the city the Affton Fire Protection District serves.

Ward 1 Alderman Mimi Duncan suggested the city start the process to adopt a boundary change.

“I don’t know how that works and what we can do,” Duncan said at the board’s Oct. 9 meeting. “It’s just very troubling when we are struggling to pay our bills.”

The board discussed various budget amendments at the board’s meeting last week, including an amendment of more than $100,000 to the city’s Fire Department budget due to a recent 26-cent tax-rate increase approved by voters of the Affton Fire Protection District, or AFPD.

A 290-acre area between Grant and Rock Hill roads was annexed in 1997 by Crestwood and is served by the AFPD.

“Because the proposed tax increase was not voted on until November, the city budgeted an amount based on the prior year’s property tax rates. The amount budgeted was $350,000,” Finance Officer Greg Kremer wrote in a memo to the board.

Duncan said she does not want to “gloss over” the cost to the AFPD.

“I guess I need to know when is this going to stop and when are we going to do something about it?” Duncan said. “… This is a lot of money, and we’re talking about a budget item that’s $450,000.”

Mayor Jeff Schlink said there are options available to deal with the issue.

“You can start a petition drive, a board member could make a motion,” Schlink said. “The ball’s really in our court. It’s not somebody else’s problem; it’s our problem. And there’s things that we can do and we are exploring different options.”

Ward 3 Alderman Paul Duchild said he agrees with Duncan that the cost “is getting kind of out of control.”

He also said the Ways and Means Committee, which was scheduled to meet Tuesday — after the Call went to press — has been talking about the issue since the tax-rate increase was on the ballot.

Schlink suggested having a work session or public meeting for public input regarding a possible boundary change rather than an ordinance. The issue could then be put on a future agenda based on the feedback from residents, he said.

Duncan said she would like to wait until the budget process is completed before discussing the boundary change.

No date has been set for a work session or public meeting.

A first reading for the budget amendments was approved in a 7-1 vote. Duncan was opposed. Duncan also opposed a second reading, carrying it to the board’s Oct. 23 meeting.