Fire district ruling
4:23 pm
Tue April 12, 2011

Court rejects fire district request to share taxes

The Missouri Court of Appeals has ruled that St. Louis County is not required to share revenue from a new casino with the Lemay Fire Protection District.

The district responds to fire and medical emergencies at the River City Casino in unincorporated south St. Louis County. Shortly after the casino opened last year, district officials asked a judge to order the county to share a portion of the gross receipts tax revenue the casino was generating.

Under state law, the city or county that's the casino's "home dock" gets 10 percent of that revenue to cover the increased need for police and fire services. But because St. Louis County doesn't have a fire department, the Lemay district argued it was entitled to receive a portion of that revenue to cover its increased costs.

The judge refused the request; the appeals court ruling upheld the decision.

The county's chief operating officer, Garry Earls, said the Lemay Fire Protection District is already getting all the revenue it needs from the casino.

"The fire district is funded from a special property tax in St. Louis County," Earls said. "The casino has paid about a million dollars in property taxes to the fire district in this year."

Earls said that covers the cost estimates the district provided him before River City opened.

Fire district officials did not return calls for comment.