Lindbergh, MFPD boards

Mike Anthony

Mike Anthony

Elected officials serving on boards of education, boards of aldermen and other governmental bodies sometimes lose touch with the people who elected them to those positions.

Some elected officials lose sight of the realities everyday citizens face in just making ends meet. Residents’ day-to-day financial struggles take precedence over the priorities of a governmental entity no matter how noble or necessary those needs are.

Some elected officials recognize the plight taxpayers face in today’s troubled economic times.

Take the Lindbergh Board of Education, for example.

Lindbergh officials last December pledged not to seek a tax-rate in-crease for at least 24 months.

Though Lindbergh faces financial challenges as a result of the current economic recession, Superintendent Jim Simpson said the district’s reserves are the reason why the situation is not a crisis. But even after taking a series of belt-tightening measures, the district’s long-term financial plan calls for dipping into the district’s reserves.

In fact, the projected deficit in the district’s 2009-2010 budget adheres to that financial plan that calls for a planned spend down of those reserves with a deficit-spending cap of $3 million per year.

The Mehlville Fire Protection District Board of Directors is another ex-ample of elected officials cognizant of the economic realities their taxpayers face.

The board made history by being the first in the state to place not just one, but two tax-rate-decrease measures on the April ballot.

Not surprisingly, both measures were overwhelmingly approved by voters.

Proposition 1 asked whether the district’s general-fund tax-rate ceiling should be permanently reduced by 36 cents per $100 of assessed valuation while Proposition 2 asked whether the district’s pension-fund tax-rate ceiling should be permanently reduced by 4 cents per $100.

Voter approval of both propositions will save taxpayers nearly $10.5 million per year, according to Board of Directors Chairman Aaron Hilmer.

It’s really simple; until the economy starts to rebound and unemployment declines, we don’t believe voters will be sympathetic to any type of tax measure placed on the ballot.

The Lindbergh school board and the MFPD board have set the bar high in terms of being responsive to their taxpayers. We hope elected officials on other boards take heed.