Mehlville School District residents will have the opportunity today — Sept. 16 — to voice their opinions on the district’s proposed property-tax rates for the 2010-2011 school year.
The Board of Education will conduct a public hearing on the proposed rates at 6:45 p.m. at the Administration Building, 3120 Lemay Ferry Road.
As proposed, the board will consider increasing the district’s blended tax rate by nearly 14 cents over the 2009-2010 rate.
The proposed 2010-2011 blended tax rate — a combination of the residential, agricultural, commercial and personal property tax rates — is $3.5654 per $100 of assessed valuation, an increase of 13.7 cents over the 2009 blended rate of $3.4282.
Proposed 2010-2011 individual tax rates per $100 of assessed valuation are: residential, $3.5365; commercial, $3.3725; personal property, $3.9648 and agricultural, $2.9751.
Tax rates for 2009-2010, per $100 of assessed valuation, were: residential, $3.4522; commercial, $2.8935; personal property, $3.9648 and agricultural, $2.9289.
This year’s rates are increasing in part because of a “significant” drop in personal property values, according to Chief Financial Officer Noel Knobloch.
Personal property in the district currently is valued at $236,725,550 — a 9-percent decrease from the 2009-2010 assessed valuation of $260,010,530.
Residential property currently is assessed at $1,210,397,510, a 0.33-percent increase from last year’s assessed valuation of $1,206,410,350.
Commercial property currently is assessed at $307,645,510, a 0.25-percent decrease from last year’s assessed valuation of $308,427,520.
Agricultural property currently is assessed at $490,610, unchanged from last year.
Total property in the district currently is assessed at $1,755,259,180, a roughly 1-percent decrease from last year’s total assessed valuation of $1,775,339,010.
Under the Missouri Constitution’s Han-cock Amendment, the district can roll up its tax rate when there is a drop in assessed valuation to collect the same amount of revenue as the previous year.
However, Knobloch told the Call the increased residential, commercial and agricultural tax rates proposed for 2010-2011 constitutes a “reallocation,” not a roll-up.
“The way the four rates work is that if you lose in personal property they let you basically reallocate that loss to the other classes to come out even …,” he said. “That’s all done on the formula page the state auditor puts out. We kind of just punch in the numbers, and there is no actual roll-up this year per se …
“If we were in a single class like most of the state is, that automatically happens because it takes your overall assessed valuation and allows you to collect the same amount as you did last year. The fact that personal property went down about $24 million, you would lose a big chunk of money there, so in order to come out the same you’ve got to allocate a little bit to agricultural, a little bit to commercial and because residential is the largest piece of the pie, they get five or six cents of that reallocation.
“That’s why it jumps so much,” Knobloch said. “It’s part of the Hancock Amendment but it’s not because of a drop in residential assessed valuation. It’s because of the fact that only St. Louis, Kansas City and St. Charles are in that assessment by class.”
The CFO noted the district’s blended tax rate is used by the state for various calculations and is not assessed to taxpayers.
“The rest of the state comes up with one number and that blended rate truly is what they collect on all assessed valuations, whereas we assess four different numbers on classes of property,” Knobloch said.
Mehlville’s proposed 2010-2011 tax rates also are higher because the district is recouping revenue that wasn’t received last year because rates were set using preliminary — and overestimated — assessed valuations from St. Louis County, he said.
The district’s 2009-2010 tax rates were set in August to meet a Sept. 1 deadline. However, officials had to use preliminary assessment figures to set the rates because the county assessor’s office hadn’t yet received post-Board of Equalization numbers.
State legislation that would’ve extended taxing bodies’ deadline to set their rates to Oct. 1 was vetoed by Gov. Jay Nixon that summer. However, the assessor’s office was working under the Oct. 1 deadline, and only preliminary assessments were available at the end of August. Legislators and Nixon since have approved a bill extending the deadline to Oct. 1.
Final 2009 assessed valuations, released in September 2009 after taxpayer appeals to the Board of Equalization, showed decreases in all four of Mehlville’s assessment categories, the most significant of which was a 6.6-percent drop in commercial assessed valuation.
This year’s proposed residential and commercial tax rates include an interim rate of 1.23 cents and 20 cents, respectively, to recoup $765,198 not collected last year.
“Most of the increase over what we actually collected last year is from recoupment. That’ll go away next year. There’s 20-some cents in our commercial rate. Our real rate for commercial is more like $3.17. It’s only $3.37 for this year. Next year it’ll go down. Same thing for residential,” Knobloch said.
Officials estimate the district will receive $163,059 this year from new construction and $16,259 in new revenue from reassessment — an increase of 0.03 percent.