Fire board votes to approve nonbinding tax rates for 2015

Board will establish tax rates for MFPD during September

By Mike Anthony

The Mehlville Fire Protection District Board of Directors voted unanimously last week to approve 2015 nonbinding tax rates for the district.

Board Treasurer Bonnie Stegman and board Secretary Ed Ryan voted April 1 to approve the nonbinding tax rates. Board Chair-man Aaron Hilmer was absent.

The board establishes the district’s tax rate each September, but Senate Bill 711, which was adopted in 2008, requires all political subdivisions to submit projected nonbinding tax rates to the county clerk’s office by April 8 during reassessment years, according to Chief Financial Officer Brian Bond.

“… Years ago when the legislation was approved, the intention was to be able to give taxpayers an estimate of what their tax bill would be at the end of the year, and so the county will use this information to provide estimates to the taxpayers, probably around June …,” he said. “We’re not actually fixing the tax rates for this year, we’re just giving them an estimate of what we anticipate they will be later in the year.”

Political subdivisions that do not provide the projected nonbinding tax rates to the county are subject to a penalty — “a 20-percent reduction in the tax levy later in the year when we fix the tax rates. So obviously it’s very critical that we comply with the guidelines that were given,” Bond said.

The 2015 blended nonbinding tax rate approved by the board is 69 cents per $100 of assessed valuation — 2 cents less than the 2014 blended tax rate of 71 cents per $100.

The blended tax rate is not levied, but used for state calculations.

The 2014 tax rate was two-tenths of a cent more than the previous blended rate of 70.8 cents per $100 of assessed valuation.

The approved nonbinding 2015 tax rates for the general, alarm and pension funds are: 60.9 cents, 4.4 cents and 3.7 cents, respectively. The 2014 tax rates for the general, alarm and pension funds are: 62.5 cents, 4.6 cents and 3.9 cents, respectively.

Based on preliminary information from St. Louis County, the fire district’s assessed valuation has increased by nearly $76 million — a roughly 3.43 percent increase, Bond told the board.

“That $76 million increase stems from a $56 million increase in residential real estate assessed values, plus a $20 million increase in commercial real estate assessed values …,” he said.

Under state law, the permitted reassessment revenue growth is limited to the lower of actual growth; the Consumer Price Index, which is currently 0.8 percent; or 5 percent, Bond wrote in a memo to the board and Chief Brian Hendricks.

“Since agricultural real estate decreased in assessed values, the permitted reassessment revenue growth is limited to 0 percent — the lower of the three criteria — while residential real estate, commercial real estate and personal property are limited to 0.8 percent — the Consumer Price Index,” the chief financial officer wrote.

“The 2015 tax (rate) will generate an additional $124,000 of tax revenue, based upon these rates we’re looking at now and the values that we have now, with the majority of the increase occurring in the general fund,” he told the board.

As projected, $111,821 of that additional revenue would go to the general fund.