Hilmer, Stegman keeping the promises they made

Mike Anthony

Mike Anthony

South county is a conservative community that desires fiscal responsibility of its elected and appointed officials.

Unfortunately, not all of our elected and appointed officials have provided the level of fiscal stewardship that south county residents deserve for their hard-earned tax dollars.

But residents have gotten what they wanted — and more — from the April election of Aaron Hilmer and Bonnie Stegman to the Mehlville Fire Protection District Board of Di-rectors. They ran on a reform platform — and reform is exactly what they’ve accomplished.

Just consider the amended fiscal 2005 budget adopted last month by the Board of Directors. The amended 2005 budget decreases projected revenues by more than $4.5 million and anticipated expenditures by nearly $2.5 million.

Interestingly, though Secretary Dan Ottoline Sr. has opposed most of the reforms Mr. Hilmer and Mrs. Steg-man have instituted, he joined them for a unanimous vote to adopt the amended 2005 budget that projects to-tal expenditures of $20,243,727 with anticipated revenue of $20,970,627 — a surplus of $726,900.

The original budget, adopted in De-cember 2004, projected total expenditures of $22,670,010 with anticipated revenues $25,560,319 — a surplus of $2,890,309.

And, surprisingly, Mr. Ottoline again joined Mr. Hilmer and Mrs. Stegman last week in adopting a fiscal 2006 budget that projects a 5 percent decrease in expenditures from fiscal 2005. The approved 2006 budget projects total expenditures of $19,302,862 with anticipated revenue of $20,851,963 — a surplus of $1,549,101.

And while Mr. Ottoline apparently wants to quibble about a few cents – the majority of the board essentially has rolled back the entire Proposition S 33-cent tax-rate increase approved by voters in November 2004.

Citing the fiscal soundness of the fire district, Mr. Hilmer last week termed Proposition S “the greatest sham ever laid on the voters of south county.”

The facts — no pun intended — would tend to bear out Mr. Hilmer’s assertion. But the one nagging question we have pertains to Mr. Ottoline — we’re not sure who he believes he is representing. He was elected to represent the taxpaying public — not union employees.

Maybe some day he’ll realize that.