Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

$877,000 `House Tax' Bothers Some Officials

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

$877,000 `House Tax' Bothers Some Officials

Article excerpt

Some members of the St. Louis County Council were upset last week about an $877,800 string attached to a bill that would have put many new houses on the tax roll within a month after they are occupied, instead of the following Jan. 1.

The $877,800 was the total additional amount that all entities levying property taxes in St. Louis County would have to pay the assessor for his services if the change in taxing new houses occurred. A state law passed this year ties the change and fee increase together.

The council buried the bill by sending it to a committee where it is not likely to be seen again.

Slightly more than one-fourth of the 116 municipalities, school and fire protection districts levying property taxes would make money from the change, Michael D. McIver, the county's director of revenue, told council members. The rest would lose because the increase in the assessor's fee would be greater than the gain brought by the change in the way new houses go on the tax roll, he said.

McIver's office prepared a chart showing what would happen if the change were in effect this year.

The chart showed that losses would be small - less than $10,000 in most cases. But the Ferguson-Florissant School District would lose nearly $38,000. The Ritenour School District would be out more than $10,000 and the Clayton and Normandy school districts more than $9,000.

The losses would continue indefinitely because the assessor's fee is a percentage of total tax collections each year.

Ferguson-Florissant would be hard hit because it has a large commercial part of its tax base - mainly McDonnell Douglas plants - and very little new home construction, county Assessor Kenneth Morton said.

Rockwood would be the biggest winner under the proposal. Its revenue would increase by $562,014.19. Only six other school districts would gain from the change, and Rockwood's increase is greater than the new income for the other districts combined. …

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