UPDATED: Lindbergh’s assessed value rises, but still less than historic ’07 high

School district’s residential tax rate drops by 9.6 cents for 2015

Çhuck Triplett

Çhuck Triplett

By Mike Anthony

Lindbergh Schools’ assessed value increased by $55 million this year compared to last year, but the district’s assessed value remains $78 million less than its 2007 historic high of over $1.3 billion.

The district’s assessed value increased by $55,284,040 to $1,253,052,510 from last year’s assessed value of $1,197,768,470.

But during a special Board of Education meeting last week to set the district’s 2015 tax rates, Chief Financial Officer Charles Triplett said, “… A high mark for our district was 2007, when we had $1,331,000,000 of assessed value. So this year’s number, we’re still $78 million under where we were eight years ago.

“It will take us about 6-percent growth to get back where we were in 2007, and that’s probably two years away, at a minimum, just to get back to where we were.”

Triplett also noted that eight years ago, the district had 877 fewer students, adding, “So we’re doing more for more kids with less dollars, less assessed value to do that.”

The board voted unanimously Sept. 30 to establish the 2015 blended operating tax rate at $3.6754 per $100 of assessed value — a decrease of 11.58 cents from the current blended operating tax rate of $3.7912 per $100. The blended tax rate is not levied, but used for state calculations.

No one spoke during a public hearing before the board approved the tax rates.

By property class, the 2015 tax rates are:

• Residential — $3.5116 per $100, a decrease of 9.6 cents from the current rate of $3.6076.

• Commercial — $3.9326 per $100, a decrease of nearly 29 cents from the current rate of $4.2197.

• Agricultural — $2.9866 per $100, a decrease of nearly $2.74 from the current rate of $5.7261.

• Personal property — $3.9096 per $100, the same as the past four years.

The school district anticipates receiving $302,294 in new revenue from reassessment and $342,600 in new revenue from new construction, according to Triplett.

“We had last year the fifth-lowest tax rate in St. Louis County, and we would expect to be in a similar position this year after all the other districts finish setting their tax rates …,” he told the board.

In a memo to Superintendent Jim Simpson, Triplett wrote that reassessment resulted in “healthy growth in all four of our property values.”

“Due to the requirements of the Hancock Amendment to the state Constitution, the district is limited in collecting new revenue to the lesser of either the property value increases or the rate of inflation,” the CFO wrote. “The average increase in our property value was 4.62 percent, but inflation was a mere 0.8 percent. Due to this historic low rate of inflation, we are required to lower our existing tax rates in order to collect only 0.8 percent in new revenue from existing property.”

The district’s debt-service tax rate will increase by 7 cents — to $75.3 cents per $100 from the current rate of 68.3 cents.

In his memo, Triplett wrote, “The (debt-service) rate is based upon the cost for next year’s principal and interest payments and a reasonable reserve in order to provide the full faith and credit of the voters for the repayment of the bonds. The district’s total assessed value has not yet returned to its pre-recession level, when the original bonds were sold and the debt-repayment schedule was initially structured.

“We are hopeful that future assessed values will increase and return to previous levels, which will allow us to lower the debt-service tax rate as it does.”