Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Recreation Center on Clayton Ballot Shared Project among Issues in April Vote

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Recreation Center on Clayton Ballot Shared Project among Issues in April Vote

Article excerpt

The city and school district in Clayton want voters on April 1 to approve proposals to pay for a shared recreation center adjacent to the high school and Shaw Park. The measure also would leave money for other uses.

The proposal highlights propositions on the local election ballot in west St. Louis County. The deadline for filing propositions with the county Election Board was Tuesday. Also on the ballot is an annexation and three proposals for billboard fees.

Clayton wants a parks and storm water tax of one-half of 1 percent. The school district is seeking two bond issues, the larger of which would include $5.5 million for the recreation center. The school district bond issues are: $19.5 million for the recreation center and renovations at district buildings. $1.9 million for work to protect Clayton High School against damage in earthquakes. The tax proposal takes a simple majority to pass. The bond issues need a four-sevenths favorable vote. The school district is slightly larger than Clayton, including some areas south of Clayton Road in Richmond Heights. Residents of the school district who live in Richmond Heights could use the facility. The recreation center would cost $15.5 million. Clayton's share would be $10.5 million; the school district's, $5.5 million. The district would donate land for the facility. The concept for the recreation center calls for a 30,000-square-foot building at the rear of Clayton High School. The facility would replace the school's natatorium and gym annex. The recreation center also may have a leisure pool, an additional gym with a jogging track, conference rooms, a child-care center and activity rooms for aerobics classes and weight machines. The school district would turn the existing Clayton Community Center into its administrative building. The district's current headquarters at 7530 Maryland Avenue is too small, not accessible to the disabled and needs rewiring, said Kathy Holman, a district spokeswoman. Clayton's current sales tax rate is 6.725 cents on the dollar. If voters approve the city proposal, Clayton would have the highest total sales tax rate in St. Louis County - 7.225 cents. That rate would be the same as St. Charles, St. Peters and several other cities in outlying counties. The rate in St. Louis is 6.85 cents. A half-cent increase in the sales tax would add $100 to the tax a resident would pay when buying a $20,000 car. The school district bond issues would require a tax increase ranging from 25 to 33 cents for each $100 of assessed valuation to pay them off. The district's tax rate last year was $3.43. The owner of a house worth $300,000 would pay an additional $188.10 a year in taxes if the tax rate to retire the bonds is 33 cents and if the proposal passes. City Manager Steve Hoffner said the parks and storm-water sales tax would raise $1. …

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