MFPD board purchases one-acre site on Tesson Ferry for new firehouse

Originally Published on: 2009-09-30

By Mike Anthony
Executive Editor
news1@callnewspapers.com

The Mehlville Fire Protection District Board of Directors voted unanimously last week to spend $800,000 to purchase a one-acre parcel on Tesson Ferry Road for the site of a new No. 4 firehouse.

The parcel at 13117 and 13119 Tesson Ferry Road is across the street from the district’s existing No. 4 firehouse at 13106 Tesson Ferry Road. The current No. 4 firehouse, built in 1964, is deteriorating and needs to be replaced, according to Board of Directors Chairman Aaron Hilmer.

The board voted unanimously during a Sept. 17 closed session to make an offer of $800,000 to the Schuyler Corp. for the property on Tesson Ferry Road, Hilmer said during the board’s Sept. 24 meeting.

Hilmer’s motion to approve the purchase of the site was seconded by Treasurer Bonnie Stegman and unanimously approved by the board.

“… (We’re) continuing what Mrs. Stegman and I started four years ago and that is bringing antiquated district infrastructure into the 21st century,” Hilmer told the Call. “The board has not set a time line yet, though my expectations would be this time next year that new firehouse will be close to being operational. I would like to see the board have this done by the end of 2010.”

Since Hilmer and Stegman took office in April 2005, two new firehouses have been constructed — the No. 1 house at 3241 Lemay Ferry Road and the No. 2 firehouse at 5434 Telegraph Road.

As for plans to construct the new No. 4 firehouse, Hilmer said, “It continues our tradition of building new firehouses and buying new equipment without tax increases or bond issues … What I think is interesting is by the end of five years of voters electing Mrs. Stegman and myself, we will have rebuilt three out of our seven firehouses — over 40 percent of our infrastructure rebuilt while we cut the tax rate in half. Now wouldn’t it be refreshing if your local school district could do the same and not have their elected officials constantly berating citizens who dare speak out how they spend their money?”

In a related matter, the Board of Directors recently voted unanimously to approve the sale of the old No. 2 firehouse to NJB Investments for $177,500.

Five bids were submitted for the old No. 2 firehouse ranging from $3 to $310,000.

The board sold the property to the second-highest bidder — Nick Botonis of NJB Investments — after the highest bidder withrew the offer, Hilmer told the Call.

“We were happy to be able to sell the property to a resident of the fire district and a business person in the fire district. He was very professional in all his dealings with us,” Hilmer said.

In an unrelated matter, the board voted unanimously during the Sept. 17 closed session to fire employee Keith Floyd for “violation of district policy, including the district anti-harassment policy,” according to Matt Hoffman, the district’s legal counsel.

Floyd had been employed by the district since October 1995.