High number of tax protests could negatively impact Lindbergh

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“The Devonshire” is a new four-story, 72-apartment senior living facility at Friendship Village Sunset Hills, opening in summer 2020.

By Mike Anthony
Executive Editor
news1@callnewspapers.com

Lindbergh Schools officials are seeing a “high number” of tax protests this year that, if successful, could negatively impact the district’s finances by $500,000 to $750,000.
The Board of Education recently voted unanimously to adopt a revised operating budget for the 2017-2018 school year that projects a surplus of nearly $43,000.
The original operating budget approved by the school board in June projected a surplus of nearly $24,000. The approved revised operating budget projects that surplus would increase by $19,130.
The revised budget projects revenues of $72,141,226 with anticipated expenditures totaling $72,098,377 — a surplus of $42,849 The original 2017-2018 operating budget forecast expenditures of $71,877,648 with projected revenues of $71,901,367 — a surplus of $23,719.
2018 was a reassessment year, and the district’s total assessed valuation of real estate and personal property rose roughly 9.5 percent. But the state’s Hancock Amendment limited the district’s revenue growth to the Consumer Price Index — 2.1 percent — requiring the district to roll back its tax rate.
Chief Financial Officer Joël Cracchiolo told board members Dec. 12 that “our ears are perked with the number of (tax) protests on file. We know that this was a reassessment year and that assessed valuation grew 9.5 percent. We were limited by CPI, but a lot of those taxpayers are protesting and it is actually going forward to the State Tax Commission.
“So we’re keeping a very close eye on the list of protested tax cases for the commercial side. There’s several large commercial companies in our Lindbergh district that have protested items that are going forth to the State Tax Commission …”
Board President Karen Schuster asked Cracchiolo, “… What’s the potential on the protests from a dollar standpoint?”
The CFO replied, “… Friendship Village and UniGroup are two of our largest corporate protests and we’re looking at $500,000 to $750,000. We are watching those very closely …”
In a memo to Superintendent Jim Simpson, Cracchiolo noted that revenue for the current school year increased by $239,859, while expenditures increased by $220,729.
“These revisions are less than 1 percent of the total amount originally budgeted,” she wrote. “The majority of the increase in revenue and expense is for grants or self-supporting programs for which data was not available in early June …”
General operating funds such as state aid, transportation and sales tax are up $91,530 — 0.13 percent of the total operating revenue budget, according to Cracchiolo.
She became CFO on July 1, succeeding Charles Triplett, who retired June 30.