Robertson Fire Protection District Announces Proposal To Reduce Tax Rate At Hazelwood City Council Meeting Wednesday Night
Taxpayer Savings Expected To Be More than $600,000
The Robertson Fire Protection District (RFPD) announced that it is proposing to voluntarily reduce its residential tax rate by 58.75% at the Hazelwood City Council meeting on Wednesday, April 6.
This is expected to reduce the cost of emergency services to residents of the District and the City of Hazelwood, which pays for Robertson’s services for thousands of its residents by more than half a million dollars. Bridgeton homeowners could see hundreds of dollars in savings each year.
“Through the years, the City of Hazelwood has given away millions of taxpayer dollars in corporate welfare through commercial TIFs, tax abatements and more. The majority of the property in our fire protection district is commercial property, so these tax breaks directly impact our ability to operate. Now that some of these initiatives are expiring, specifically the Missouri Bottom/370 tax abatement, we can take a substantial tax burden off our residents and the City of Hazelwood while continuing to provide quality emergency services,” says RFPD Board Chair Joan Noel.
The RFPD Board of Directors is proposing a voluntary rollback of the residential tax rate from $2.40 to .99-cents, a $1.41 decrease for the 2023 calendar year. The rate will be set in September of 2022. This residential tax rate will be one of the lowest fire protection district tax rates in St. Louis County. It will result in an estimated $638,000 savings to the City of Hazelwood and the residents of the district. The commercial rate of $2.47, agricultural rate of $2.57 and personal property rate of $2.63 are planned to stay at their current levels.
“We are hopeful that this decision by the RFPD Board will show our willingness to work with the City of Hazelwood to find a solution to the ongoing expensive legal battle they started in 2017 when they attempted to terminate the agreement to pay for our services for their residents,” says Noel.
In December 2017, the City of Hazelwood’s City Council passed a resolution that attempted to terminate the 1995 Fire Service Agreement between RFPD and City. Under the terms of the agreement, RFPD provides fire, rescue, and emergency medical services to Hazelwood residents who live within the District and the City of Hazelwood provides payment for these services. The City pays for these services with tax revenue paid by the residents who live within the fire district and through other taxes and fees they collect. Approximately half of the RFPD is within the City of Hazelwood, and the City provides the District with nearly 50% of its funding as part of the Fire Service Agreement.
In 2021 the courts ruled that the City must continue to provide monthly payments to RFPD as described in the 1995 Fire Services Agreement, but a final decision on the case is still pending. A 2021 Missouri Supreme Court decision involving the Affton Fire Protection District and the City of Crestwood ruled in favor of the Affton Fire Protection District. The Court said the City voluntarily annexed the land in the fire district, and the City must pay the District the current Fire District tax rate that district residents voted on.
About the Robertson Fire Protection District
The Robertson Fire Protection District (RFPD) was formed in 1949. Forty firefighter/paramedics provide fire, rescue, and emergency medical services to more than 5,000 residents and 600 businesses within a 16 square mile area of North St. Louis County, including portions of unincorporated St. Louis County and the cities of Bridgeton and Hazelwood. The District operates from two fire stations, which each house a firetruck and ambulance.