Fire Districts and Assessors in Saint Louis County for Your Weekend Perusal
The idea that Saint Louis County should have an elected assessor (thanks to Combest for this Business-Journal link) in Saint Louis County is a very good one, for reasons you can find in minute detail in my recent study of Missouri government. Let’s just say that the reasons involve logarithms. Fancy, eh?
The plan to require an actual vote in order to lower the tax rate ceiling in South St. Louis County (the Mehlville Fire District) is terrific. I think this has an excellent chance of passing, and it will go a long way to limit the unnecessary spending that fire districts have been engaging in for far too long. My concern is not that the current Mehlville board will spend too much. Rather, the ceiling decrease proposal would ensure that future boards have to go to the people for tax increases, instead of just automatically spending to meet the existing (high) rate ceiling. More local governments in Missouri need to examine this idea. From the article in the Call:
[Board President Aaron] Hilmer continued, “… One question people ask is: If the board can decide what the tax rate is, why let voters decide on this? All it would take is a vote of two Board of Directors members next year to, in effect, double the taxes that people are paying to the fire district. This is a chance for voters to ensure that never happens in the future …”