According to its supporters, Proposition L is a proposal to provide funding for Central County Fire & Rescue with advanced medical training and equipment for existing firefighter and emergency medical technicians [EMT] and to hire additional firefighters/paramedics. Advanced medical training for fire department personnel who are responsible for protecting district residents would provide firefighters and paramedics with the additional education necessary to respond to all types of medical emergencies. Equipping fire trucks with advanced medical tools such as cardiac monitors and lifesaving medications will allow first responders to quickly deliver critical care.
A paramedic can provide life-saving medical interventions that EMTs do not have the training and equipment to give. For example, if a patient suffers from a severe allergic reaction, a paramedic can provide and administer an EPI pen, secure an airway and provide intravenous medication. In a similar situation, an EMT could only provide CPR.
“The main component of [Prop L] is to provide advanced life support,” said Central County Fire & Rescue Assistant Chief Steve Brown. “So many times when we are on the scene of a life-threatening EMS call, we have to wait for an ambulance to get there.”
The needs of the community are changing. With an aging population, CCFR says it is responding to more medical emergency calls than ever before. In 2010, it answered around 1,600 emergency medical calls; in 2015, it responded to 2,850 calls.
CCFR provides emergency services to approximately 90,000 residents in a 72-square-mile area covering parts of Saint Charles City and St. Peters.
Prop. L would allow the district to levy an additional tax of .25 per $100 of assessed valuation. If approved, the additional investment for the owner of a $175,000 home would be 23 cents a day, $1.60 a week, $6.93 a month or $83 a year.
According to its supporters, Proposition Safety would provide firefighters in the O’Fallon Fire Protection District with the medical tools and training to provide advanced medical care. If approved by voters, it would also allow the district to hire 12 additional firefighter/paramedics to provide lifesaving emergency services to local residents and meet national safety standards. Aging facilities also would be updated.
“One of the things it will allow us to do if passed is upgrade from basic life support capabilities to advanced life support capabilities,” said O’Fallon Fire Chief Tom Vineyard.
The 25 cent tax increase will allow the fire district to:
• Upgrade every truck from basic to advanced medical equipment that provides essential tools such as cardiac monitors and life-saving drugs.
• Provide advanced training to firefighters: pre-hospital emergency medicine, hazardous materials and homeland security.
• Hire paramedic/firefighters to fully staff vehicles on a daily basis to meet National Standards, increasing overall safety for firefighters and the community.
• Implement updates to existing facilities to facilitate additional personnel.
• Allow the district to continue to grow to meet the ever-changing demands of the fire service.
If approved, the additional investment for the owner of a $200,000 home would be 26 cents a day, $1.83 a week, $7.92 a month or $95 annually. The district covers 67 square miles, including O’Fallon, St. Paul, Dardenne Prairie, Lake Saint Louis, St. Peters and St. Charles County.
Voters also are being asked on the Nov. 8 ballot to approve a tax increase to fund senior services in St. Louis City and St. Louis and St. Charles counties.
If approved by a simple majority vote, Proposition S would establish a fund specifically for services to people 60 years or older. Funding would come from a five cent increase on all taxable real estate and personal property taxes for each $100 in assessed valuation.
Each of the three municipal entities have to approve the proposition separately and funds raised in each entity would stay in that entity. If approved, a local independent board would be appointed to oversee funding dispersal.
Money raised would be used with the idea of helping seniors “age in place,” allowing them to stay in their homes longer rather than be sent to a care or nursing facility.
A taxpayer with a home valued at $100,000 would see a $9.50 annual increase in real estate property taxes and a $1.67 increase in personal property taxes for a vehicle with a valuation of $10,000.
The idea isn’t new. Fifty-four counties in Missouri have a similar kind of tax supporting nutrition, transportation, home care and medical services. Nor is the tax expected to be a complete problem solver.
The tax is just one step, according to Jamie Opsal, project manager for Seniors Count of St. Louis, a coalition of health care, nonprofit, religious and business organizations supporting the increase.