Supreme Court Decides Affton Lawsuit

Back in 2017, Crestwood sued the Affton Fire Protection District challenging the constitutionality of two state statutes that force the city to pay the Affton Fire Protection District for emergency services in the "annex" portion of the city. The suit claimed that the state statutes treat St. Louis County municipalities with fire departments differently than similar municipalities in other counties. That case made it to the Missouri Supreme Court where arguments were heard in 2019, around the same time the MO Legislator changed constitutionality rules which impacted Crestwood's argument. In late April of 2021 the court ruled against Crestwood.

Crestwood issued the following press release:

Crestwood Response to Missouri Supreme Court Decision

CRESTWOOD, MO April 30, 2021 – The Crestwood Board of Aldermen is disappointed by the decision of the Missouri Supreme Court in favor of the Affton Fire Protection District in the matter of City of Crestwood, et al. v. Affton Fire Protection District, et al. The City of Crestwood filed suit to overturn a state statute requiring the City to pay over $560,000 per year to the Affton Fire Protection District for the fire services they provide to a portion of the City. These payments to the Affton Fire Protection District have increased at a rate almost twice that of the rate of inflation, due to multiple tax increases approved by the Affton Fire Protection District.

In making its decision, the Supreme Court applied a new relaxed standard for determining whether special laws are constitutionally valid. This new standard was adopted in December 2019, after this lawsuit had originally been filed. Special laws target a specific group, and do not apply to everyone equally, which means residents living in one area of the state may be subject to one law, and residents living somewhere else are subject to different law. This is the situation facing the City of Crestwood, where the law treats Crestwood and its residents differently than if Crestwood was located in any other county in the State of Missouri.

This new standard weakens the Missouri Constitution’s prohibition on special laws that has stood for over 100 years, and has the potential to open the floodgate for Jefferson City lawmakers to enact special legislation with impunity. With this decision, the Supreme Court has effectively eliminated the ability of people suffering from targeted legislation to mount a legal challenge to overcome their situation. Widespread special legislation will lead to multiple standards of law, which is contrary to good government and fundamental fairness. The City of Crestwood hopes the state legislature will act to give this issue the appropriate attention it deserves in due course, and enact a solution to restrict the practice of special legislation.

The City believes the special statute only governing annexation of property served by a fire protection district in St. Louis County is hopelessly flawed and inappropriate, but so long as the status quo persists, the City of Crestwood will continue to work together with the Affton Fire Protection District to provide the residents of Crestwood with superior fire and EMS services.


It is worth noting that both Crestwood and Affton Fire Departments have worked together thoughout this time to protect Crestwood residents, and will continue providing mutual aid going forward. Affton will continue to provide excellent fire and EMS services to residents in the "annex" area.