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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Hilmer's Accomplishments Merit His Re-Election to MFPD Board


March 30, 2011 - Based on his accomplishments over the past six years, Aaron Hilmer merits re-election to the Mehlville Fire Protection District Board of Directors.

Through his actions, Hilmer has proved himself to be one of those rare elected officials who actually keeps the promises he made before being elected. Those promises kept include rolling back the 36.5-percent tax increase from November 2004, eliminating wasteful spending and improving services.

That doesn't include the construction of three new firehouses paid for with cash and no legacy debt, construction of a fourth firehouse that also will be paid for with cash, voter approval of a 40-cent decrease in the district's tax-rate ceiling and the purchase of new fire trucks, ambulances and a rescue squad — all paid for with cash.

But accomplishing those reforms has not been easy — starting with the night Hilmer was elected in April 2005 when the rear window of his car was broken out and continuing with roughly 25 lawsuits, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaints and other actions filed against the board and district by Mehlville Local 1889 of the International Association of Fire Fighters and its supporters.

Though Michael Klund has attended many fire board meetings, he either is woefully uninformed or deliberately misrepresenting the facts through such claims as ambulance billing is "double taxation'' and "the reserves have been depleted in the building of these firehouses.''

Where was Klund when the fire board voted in 2002 to begin billing for ambulance service? The district bills the insurance company of a Mehlville resident who uses ambulance service and the resident does not make any co-payment.

The district also bills the insurance company of a nonresident who uses ambulance service. Because a nonresident does not pay any taxes to the district, that person also is billed a co-payment for ambulance service.

As for the fire district's reserves, the 2011 budget projects Mehlville will have an ending balance of $10,477,647 on Dec. 31 — a roughly 50-percent fund balance or enough to operate the district for six months — an amount of which any public entity would be envious.

By the way, if you receive information mailed by "Friends of the Mehlville Fire District,'' beware. We believe a more accurate name for the group, which is advocating Klund's election, would be "Friends of Mehlville Local 1889.''

In short, electing Klund would be a critical mistake and a huge step backward for the Mehlville Fire Protection District as he has articulated no clear ideas of what he would do if elected. He's only uttered complaints about what he doesn't like. Therefore, the Call urges voters to re-elect Aaron Hilmer, who has a proven record of accomplishents, in next Tuesday's election.

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