Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Msd's Sensible Course

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Msd's Sensible Course

Article excerpt

The trustees of the Metropolitan Sewer District did the right thing by deciding to keep the rate increase they imposed in 1993 to finance badly needed sewer improvements. The question facing the trustees at their meeting earlier this week was whether to rescind the rate hike until it can be submitted to voters later this year.

For now, MSD has the right to assume that its 1993 rate increase is valid and therefore can continue to collect it. However, its legality is problematic because the Missouri Supreme Court has struck down a 1992 sewer levy. That's why the trustees indicated they are planning to ask the voters to approve the 1993 rate action, a wise move.

Like the 1992 rate, the 1993 increase was imposed without a vote of the people. The sewer district's trustees did this in the belief that both levies were fees, not taxes, and therefore not subject to the Hancock Amendment's requirement that local tax increases be submitted to voters. However, the state Supreme Court held that the 1992 levy was a tax. …

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