Sunset Hills rolls back its tax rates for 2020


By Erin Achenbach, Staff Reporter

The Sunset Hills Board of Aldermen unanimously voted this month to set the city’s 2019 tax rate at 4.7 cents per $100 of assessed valuation for both commercial and residential property.

Sunset Hills tax rates per $100 of assessed valuation for 2020 are 4.7 cents for residential and commercial property and 6 cents for personal property.

Voters in Sunset Hills approved a property tax rate of 10 cents per $100 of assessed valuation, said City Administrator Eric Sterman during a public hearing on the tax rate at the Sept. 10 Board of Aldermen meeting.

Last year, rates were 5.1 cents for residential and 5.4 cents for commercial.

Setting the tax is an exercise that has to occur every year to turn in the proposed property tax rates to the county by Oct. 1.

“As assessed values go up, state law requires the city to roll back that rate,” said Sterman, referring to the Hancock Amendment to the Missouri Constitution, which requires government entities with large value spikes to roll back the tax rate so that they take in the same dollar amount they took in 2018, plus the inflation rate of 1.9 percent.

Sunset Hills has a 2019 assessed valuation of $277.6 million in residential property, $124.7 million in commercial property, $45.6 million in personal property and $32,160 in agricultural property for a combined assessed valuation of $447.9 million. In 2018, Sunset Hills’ assessed valuation was $397.6 million.

“This is my annual time to remind folks how blessed we are that most of our revenue… comes from sales tax from within the city,” said Ward 4 Alderman Mark Colombo, who sits on the city’s Finance Committee. Sales tax accounted for 53 percent of the city’s revenue in 2018.  “We have very low property tax both commercial and personal… because we’re blessed with the sales tax. So that’s how we actually fund our city, keep that in mind.”

The board unanimously voted 7-0 to set the city’s tax rate at 4.7 cents for residential and commercial property and 6 cents for personal property. Ward 2 Alderman Casey Wong was absent.

Sunset Hills was not the only political subdivision in South County to see an increase in its assessed valuation. Assessed values rose across St. Louis County. Lindbergh Schools saw a 17-percent increase. The Mehlville School District and the Mehlville Fire Protection District, which covers half of Sunset Hills, both saw a 15-percent increase in assessed value.

Both Mehlville School District and Lindbergh Schools will hold separate meetings Tuesday, Sept. 24 to set their tax rates. The city of Green Park will set its tax rate at its next Board of Aldermen meeting Sept. 16 — after The Call went to press. Crestwood will set its tax rate at its Sept. 24 Board of Aldermen meeting.