Reader offers historical background about school district’s tax rate

To the editor:

While COMPASS II Co-Chair Jim Schibig admits he’s not the greatest mathematician in the world, I’m sure that as a former Mehlville School District principal his knowledge of math is better than he professes.

The activity of multiplication requires a multiplier and a multiplicand to produce a product. In this case, the multiplier is the tax rate — currently $3.47 — referred to as lower than the 1981 rate of $4.42 and for that matter back to 1972.  But what Mr. Schibig conveniently ignores is the multiplicand. The number multiplied by the tax rate is the assessed value.

Before 1985, assessed values only changed on sales. In other words, my house purchased in 1971 would still be assessed at $15,000. I would gladly trade my current tax bill for a return to the $4.42 rate. 

However, the real property assessment procedure was ruled to be unconstitutional and discriminatory with respect to new property owners of like property. Hence, the biennial appraisal and assessment procedure was implemented with all property brought to current market value for assessment purposes.

In fact, the Mehlville’s assessed value of $328,115,336 on Jan. 1, 1984, increased to $501,848,771 on Jan. 1, 1985.  In order to prohibit windfall tax receipts for the various taxing entities, rollbacks of the tax rates were required to bring receipts in line with the previous year.

Disingenuous commentary is the last thing needed in the coming debate over the direction of the Mehlville School District.

Also, it would be helpful if our local newspaper would provide some context to the property taxing history including the historical perspective of the Hancock Amendment of 1980.

With the ground rules known, both sides of the issue would be less inclined to rhetorical excess.

John J. Perulfi