Mehlville board members roll up tax rate by 15 cents

Staff Report

The Mehlville Board of Education voted unanimously last week to increase its “blended” tax rate by roughly 15 cents for the 2009-2010 school year.

The “blended” rate — a combination of the residential, agricultural, commercial and personal property tax rates — will increase to $3.4326 per $100 of assessed valuation in 2009-2010 from $3.2804 per $100 in 2008-2009.

An 8.7-percent decrease in residential property assessed valuation this year caused the district’s total assessed valuation to drop to $1,819,604,780 from $1,883,559,700 in 2008 — a decrease of roughly 3.4 percent — even though the other three categories of assessed valuation saw increases over last year’s figures.

Per the Hancock Amendment, the district can roll up its tax rate to regain lost property-tax revenue. But while the combined, “blended” rate will increase, residents actually will see only an increase in their residential property rate for 2009-2010.

The four rates for 2009-2010 are: residential property, $3.4522; agricultural property, $2.9524; commercial property, $2.9177; and personal property, $3.9648.

For 2008-2009, those tax rates were: residential property, $3.1467; agricultural property, $4.0880; commercial property, $3.2745; and personal property, unchanged at $3.9648.

Had the district kept the tax rates at 2008-2009 levels, it would’ve lost roughly $2.5 million in revenue, Chief Financial Officer Noel Knobloch said.

By fund, the school district’s tax rates for 2009-2010 are: special, $1.9305; general, $1.0490; debt service, 3 cents; and capital, 42 cents.

For 2008-2009, the rates by fund were: special, $1.64; general, $1.11; debt service, roughly 34 cents; and capital, 19 cents.

The district expects to receive $653,458 in new revenue from new construction and $19,773 in new revenue from reassessment.

Board members were required to set the tax rates by Tuesday.

However, final assessed valuation figures from St. Louis County could be different from those district officials used to set the 2009-2010 rates. If that were the case, the district would make up for any gain in, or loss of, revenue next year.

“If the values would go down, some of our rates would change because of the roll-up or rollback provisions,” Knobloch said. “This is the way we have to do it because it’s the best information available.”