Mehlville Board of Education approves 2021 blended tax rate, includes levy for Prop S

Mehlville+Board+of+Education+member+Jean+Pretto+and+CFO+Marshall+Crutcher+discuss+the+2020+budget+during+a+meeting+June+5%2C+2019+at+Mehlville+High+School.

Photo by Jessica Belle Kramer

Mehlville Board of Education member Jean Pretto and CFO Marshall Crutcher discuss the 2020 budget during a meeting June 5, 2019 at Mehlville High School.

By Erin Achenbach, News Editor

The Mehlville Board of Education unanimously passed the 2021 blended tax rate at its annual tax rate hearing Sept. 21. 

The Board of Education approved a blended tax rate of $3.6598, a 14-cent decrease from last year’s blended rate. The public hearing was held via videoconference. 

“The bottom line is, it’s pretty cut and dry because we input just a few pieces of information into the state auditor calculation spreadsheet and it automatically computes the tax rates that we propose for approval,” Chief Financial Officer Marshall Crutcher said.  

The blended rate is not levied but is used to compare the district to other school districts, and is a combination of the residential, commercial, agricultural and personal property tax rates, including a 4-cent temporary tax from Proposition A, which ends in 2025. The rates also include a 12-cent tax levy for Proposition S general obligation bonds but is offset by a 12-cent voluntary tax rate reduction. Prop S was a no-tax-rate increase bond issue. 

“We made a voluntary reduction of 12 cents to the regular tax rates, so in the end the net tax rate is no higher than what it would have been without Prop S,” Crutcher said. “That keeps our commitment to what we promised to the community.”

Assessed values increased 6.5 percent overall across the district compared to 1.4 percent Consumer Price Index inflation.

The Hancock Amendment limits tax revenue to increase only up to the CPI, meaning the additional increase in assessed values results in decreased tax rates. Tax revenue cannot increase more than inflation. 

Revenue will increase $1.8 million or 2.3 percent, said Crutcher, for a total tax revenue estimate of $77.9 million. 

The approved 2021 tax rates per $100 of assessed valuation: 

• Residential real estate – $3.4431 

• Commercial real estate – $3.9025 

• Agricultural real estate – $4.4036 

• Personal property – $4.5061

Crutcher said one of the key takeaways was understanding district revenue would decrease by about $1.075 million due to a statewide lawsuit against the state auditor’s tax rate calculations going back to 2009. Tax rates were not calculated properly for some districts and any district affected by the error has been forced to adjust the beginning tax rate coming into the year. Mehlville adjusted its beginning tax rate from about $3.81 to $3.77.

“That adjustment is going to reduce our revenue,” Crutcher said. “The important thing to understand is none of the districts did anything wrong. This was an error on the state auditor’s schedules that goes back to 2009.”