What is Proposition Fire?
Proposition Fire is a General Obligation Bond in the amount of eight million dollars (8,000,000). The bond is a 20 year General Obligation Bond that will be voted on April 5th 2022.
What is a general obligation bond?
General obligation bonds, which are also referred to as GOs, are municipal bonds which provide a way for state and local governments to raise money for projects that may not generate a revenue stream directly. Examples of the types of projects funded by general obligation bonds are the construction of public schools and highway systems.
They are called “general obligation” bonds because they are not backed by a specific revenue producing project or asset. Instead, they are backed by the “full faith and credit” of the issuer. In simple terms that means the bonds are backed by the state or local government’s ability to tax, and to raise taxes if necessary, in order to pay bondholders. For states, this power comes in the form of state income taxes and/or a sales tax. For local governments, it normally comes in the form of property taxes.
What is the impact on my property taxes?
The bonds would be repaid through a modest property tax increase. For a household with a $140,000 home the property tax would average an additional $74.90 each year, which works out to $6.24 per month.
In 2008 voters approved a tax levy increase allowing the district to hire 15 full time firefighters and update department vehicles and equipment. The levy was set at a maximum of $.50 per $100.00 dollars of assessed value. This levy was in addition to the original levy passed in 1987 of $.35 per $100.00 of assessed value for a maximum total of $.85 per $100.00 of assessed value. Due to Missouri’s Hancock Amendment this rate is rolled back annually to an average of $.68 per $100.00 of assessed value. With the most recent figures in 2021 the total valuation of the district was $221,519,024.00. If you calculate that at the approved $.85 rate would give a General fund of $1,882,911.70 but due to the Hancock Amendment that was rolled back to $.6844 and a General Fund of $1,516,076.50 leaving a difference of $366,835.50. If you multiply that shortfall by 12 years since hiring full time staff, it totals roughly $4,402,206.00 in needed funding for the progression of your fire district. The Strafford Fire Protection District despite this shortfall in funding has made tremendous progress in the continued development of your fire district since passing the tax levy. The support from the community has been overwhelming since employing full time staff. We thank you for allowing us to give you the safety and service you have come to rely on and deserve.
This bond will be used to:
1. Remodel Strafford Station #2 on E. Division St. This station was built in 1990 when the district was primarily volunteer, and its design was not intended for full-time live in staffing.
2. Build a proposed Station #3 on the South side of Strafford near the new Industrial Park. The Insurance Services Office who issues the district our ISO rating of 3 requires that a station be built near the Industrial Park. This rating is what is used by most insurances companies to establish the cost of your home owners insurance. The lower your rating, the lower your cost. Not being able to provide this required coverage will lead to a higher ISO rating which will likely increase insurance costs.
3. Replace, update, and maintain emergency response equipment and apparatus.
4. Provide modern training facilities for even more skilled firefighters and overall safer community.
5. Pay off existing leases to allow the district the ability to hire more firefighters from the General Fund to bring the district up to required staffing standards.
The growth of our community is far surpassing the Districts ability to keep up. Due to infrastructure challenges, larger commercial facilities, industrial facilities, exponential residential growth, and ever changing national firefighting standards. The bond is needed to help alleviate the growing pains associated with a rapidly expanding community to provide the best customer service to our district members in the most efficient manner possible.