Revenue panel’s analysis, presentation ‘inadequate,’ Hrastich says

To the editor:

Recently you have probably read that the Sunset Hills mayor and his unsanctioned “Revenue Review Committee” chairman were “flabbergasted” when the Board of Aldermen did not suspend the board’s rules and read a tax proposal ordinance twice at the January meeting.

The majority of aldermen resolved to exercise due diligence, studying the proposal thoroughly before voting on the ordinance.

At the board’s December meeting, the revenue committee provided a single table of numbers with little explanation.

No additional explanatory or supporting data was provided before the January meeting. So, several aldermen contacted me, as Finance Committee chairman, for information that was missing from the proposal:

• The original 1994 capital-improvement tax authorized the sale of $5.765 million in bonds to build the police and public works buildings, renovate City Hall and make improvements to the parks activity building and Watson Trail Park. A total of $4.565 million was retired by 2004 and $1.2 million was refinanced.

• A total of $450,000 in capital improvement tax bonds remains to be retired between now and 2016.

• No capital improvement projects — “bricks and mortar” — were proposed as was done in 1994. Nor were any significant roadway construction/reconstruction projects proposed.

• Several aldermen have reported that constituents said another tax “sunset date” would be preferable.

The mayor shouldn’t find my voicing the concerns of a majority of aldermen “shocking,” rather the inadequate analysis and presentation proffered by his ad-hoc committee.

I am “shocked” that he hasn’t offered to save taxpayers about $1 million per year by retiring the remaining bonds with the excess capital improvement fund balance and end the half-cent sales tax.

Should the board consider asking taxpayers to consider renewing a capital-improvement sales tax, patterned after Missouri Attorney General’s opinion No. 97-99, listing specifics of its proposed uses along with an expiration date?

Thomas Hrastich, PE

Ward 2 Sunset Hills alderman