Residents should be proud of MFPD’s first-rate service

By Mike Anthony

Congratulations to the Mehlville Fire Protection District, which recently celebrated its 60th anniversary of providing first-rate service to roughly 110,000 south county residents.

Hundreds of residents attended a recent open house at Engine House No. 3, 4811 S. Lindbergh Blvd., to celebrate the anniversary.

With seven engine houses strategically placed to cover a total of 52 square miles, the MFPD is the largest fire district in the state.

Though the district has seen many changes since its inception, perhaps the most significant advancements have occurred in the past nine years with the election of Board of Directors Chairman Aaron Hilmer and Treasurer Bonnie Stegman, who took office in April 2005.

Shortly after taking office, the two voted to roll back a 33-cent tax-rate increase that was approved by MFPD voters in November 2004. At that time, the district’s tax rate was set to increase to $1.22 per $100 of assessed valuation. Today, the MFPD’s tax rate of 70.8 cents per $100 is the lowest in St. Louis County.

Since 2005, four new firehouses have been built, starting with Engine House No. 1, 3241 Lemay Ferry Road. Work on that firehouse began under a previous board, but was completed after Hilmer and Stegman took office.

Under the current board — Hilmer, Stegman and Secretary Ed Ryan, who was first elected in April 2007 — three more firehouses have been constructed, including Engine House No. 2 at 5434 Telegraph Road in 2009, Engine House No. 4 at 13117 Tesson Ferry Road in 2011 and Engine House No. 3 in 2012.

All of the firehouses have been constructed without any legacy debt.

In April 2009, voters approved two tax-rate-decrease measures that reduced the district’s tax-rate ceiling by a total of 40 cents. Hilmer has calculated the savings to taxpayers from the tax-rate-decrease measures at $10.5 million annually.

With the leadership of Chief Brian Hendricks, Assistant Chief Dan LaFata and Assistant Chief Craig Walk, residents can be certain the district is living up to its mission statement of ensuring “the community will receive the highest level of life and property protection through quick, professional and efficient responses dedicated to the best possible outcome.”

We believe residents should be proud of the outstanding service they receive from all of the MFPD’s dedicated employees.