Hearings set on proposed MFPD, Lindbergh tax rates

Lindbergh’s blended tax rate to decrease by 11.58 cents

Hearings set on proposed MFPD, Lindbergh tax rates

By Mike Anthony

Public hearings on proposed 2015 tax rates are scheduled to be conducted this week by the Mehlville Fire Protection District Board of Directors and the Lindbergh Board of Education.

Both tax-rate hearings are scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 30 — after the Call went to press. The fire district’s hearing was set for 5 p.m. at its headquarters, 11120 Mueller Road, and the school district’s hearing was set for 7 p.m. in the boardroom at Lindbergh Early Childhood Education, 4814 S. Lindbergh Blvd.

For the Mehlville Fire Protection District, the district’s current blended tax rate is 71 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. The blended tax rate is not levied, but used for state calculations.

The proposed 2015 blended tax rate is 1 cent less — 70 cents per $100.

As proposed, the 2015 tax rates for the general, alarm and pension funds are: 61.7 cents, 4.5 cents and 3.8 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.

For 2015, the fire district’s total assessed valuation increased by $54,379,397 to $2,295,097,471 from last year’s total assessed valuation of $2,240,718,074.

However, the district does not anticipate receiving any new revenue from reassessment, according to Chief Financial Officer Brian Bond. He projected the district will receive $34,983 in new revenue from new construction.

For Lindbergh, the district’s current blended operating tax rate is $3.7912 per $100 of assessed valuation. The proposed 2015 blended tax rate is $3.6754 per $100 — a decrease of 11.58 cents.

By property class, the 2015 proposed tax rates are:

• Residential — $3.5116 per $100, a decrease of 9.6 cents from the current rate of $3.6076.

• Commercial — $3.9326 per $100, a decrease of nearly 29 cents from the current rate of $4.2197.

• Agricultural — $2.9866 per $100, a decrease of nearly $2.74 from the current rate of $5.7261.

• Personal property — $3.9096 per $100, the same as the past four years.

The district’s total assessed valuation increased by $55,284,040 to $1,253,052,510 from last year’s total assessed valuation of $1,197,768,470.

The district anticipates receiving $302,294 in new revenue from reassessment and $342,600 in new revenue from new construction, according to Chief Financial Officer Charles Triplett.

As proposed, the district’s debt-service tax rate will increase by 7 cents — to $75.3 cents per $100 from the current rate of 68.3 cents.

In a memo to Superintendent Jim Simpson, Triplett noted that the debt-service levy is used exclusively for the retirement of long-term debt from voter-approved bonds.

“The rate is based upon the cost for next year’s principal and interest payments and a reasonable reserve in order to provide the full faith and credit of the voters for the repayment of the bonds,” Triplett wrote. “The district’s total assessed value has not yet returned to its pre-recession level, when the original bonds were sold and the debt repayment schedule was initially structured.

“We are hopeful that future assessed values will increase and return to previous levels, which will allow us to lower the debt-service tax rate as it does.”

In his memo, Triplett noted that reassessment resulted in “healthy growth in all four of our property values.”

“Due the requirements of the Hancock Amendment to the state Constitution, the district is limited in collecting new revenue to the lesser of either the property value increases or the rate of information,” the CFO wrote. “The average increase in our property value was 4.62 percent, but inflation was a mere 0.8 percent. Due to this historic low rate of inflation, we are required to lower our existing tax rates in order to collect only 0.8 percent in new revenue from existing property.”

Triplett wrote that the new revenue Lindbergh will receive will help address the following challenges facing the district:

• “Student growth — furniture, equipment, books, supplies (and) technology.”

• “Additional teachers and staff — limit class size growth, providing other necessary services.”

• “Staff hiring and retention — competitive salaries and modest raises.”

• “Budget-cut restorations — review staff and program cuts since 2009.”

• “State Legislature — $600 million unfunded (foundation) formula; continued efforts to reduce tax rates.”