This article is the first in a series focusing on the issue of fire protection districts.
It is rumored that one of the objectives of Mayor Jones is to dissolve Ferguson’s municipal fire department, and to move our city into a fire protection district. These districts are common, especially in north county. It is our position that such a move would not be in the best interest of Ferguson residents. We’ll tackle the issues with fire protection districts one at a time. And we’re starting with the most important one: cost.
In Ferguson, our municipal fire department is a service provided by the city, as part of your property tax bill. As you move from one municipality to the other, most of the tax rates remain the same. Most of your taxes go to the school district. But around Ferguson, there are municipalities in the same school district but different cities. Here’s an example of the tax assessment on a house in Ferguson which was valued at $88,000. There’s no fire district levy, and the city taxes amount to a total of $222.04, at a rate of $1.328. The total tax bill on this house is $1,417.72.
Now, let’s look at a home of similar value in the same school district, but outside the city of Ferguson. The assessor valued this at just $79,600, so you’d expect the tax bill to be lower. But in Dellwood, they don’t have a municipal fire department, they are in Metro North Fire Protectino District. And look at these taxes!
They still pay $261.06 in property tax to the city of Dellwood. But they also pay $404.80 to Metro North Fire. The tax bill on this house, though it is less expensive than the house in Ferguson, is $1,716.57, nearly $300 a year higher. If you are a homeowner, that’s an additional $25 a month added to your mortgage. If you’re a renter, your rent will increase. And you are getting nothing for that extra payment – Ferguson already has a well managed, professionally staffed fire department.
Future articles will discuss other reasons that moving from a municipal fire department to a fire protection district is not in the best interest of Ferguson residents. We have reached out to Mayor Jones for her perspective on this issue, and as always, our pages remain open to her commentary.