It should be noted that University City has the only Bond Issues in St. Louis County that do not make reference to the proposed tax increases on the ballot.
“The authorization of the bonds will authorize the levy and collection of an annual tax in addition to the other taxes provided for by law on all taxable tangible property in the City sufficient to pay the interest and principal of the bonds as they fall due and to retire the same within twenty years from the date thereof.”
What this means is that all property (real and personal) in University City is subject to an increase for 20 years. If Propostion S (streets) and P (parks) are passed, the increase to your property tax rates will be 24.2¢/$100 assessed value, 6.1¢/$100 assessed value, respectively. The current tax rate is 75.3¢/$100 assessed value. If both Propositions pass, the total change in your tax rate will increase from $0.753/$100 assessed value to $1.056/$100 assessed value or an increase of 30.3¢/$100 assessed value. If you do the math - and it is simple:
30.3¢ increase/75.3¢ x100 = 40%. That is an increase of 40% in your City property taxes!
(Note: your assessed value is given on your tax bill, and if your property is residential that value can be determined by multiplying the appraised value of your home by 0.19 or 19%. If your property is commercial, the assessed value is determined by multiplying the appraised value of your property by 0.32 or 32%).
How can this be when you are being told by the City and Mayor Welsch that this increase is around 3% of your entire tax bill? First and most important, the City only controls one line of your tax bill: the line marked City-University City. The City and Mayor Welsch are trying to diminish the real impact of this 40% increase in your city taxes by relating the increase to your entire tax bill (County, MSD, schools, Zoo-Museum, Library, etc.) and presenting it as only a monthly cost.
We pay our taxes on a yearly basis, not monthly. In fact, your real estate property City taxes would increase from $143/$100,000 of appraised value to $201/$100,000 of your appraised value. That is a 40% increase in your city property taxes (For a bond calculator, see UCITYBONDS.COM.); that is an increase of $58/$100,000 appraised value every year for the next 20 years. For that 20 year period you will have paid $1,160/$100,000 appaised value of your home. This increase falls heaviest on seniors and those with fixed incomes.
These tax increases will NOT be mentioned on the ballot, although both of these bond issues come with a 20-year increase in your property taxes. Together these bond issues are for $25 million and is the largest city bond issue and the largest city property tax increase in the history of University City.
These bond issues are too big and too expensive; this was done without any public input and, most importantly, we have other ways to pay for these improvements without this excessive property tax increase. This is the first time in history that any proposed bond issues or taxes have gone on the ballot without the unanimous support of the Council. The City will be spending over $25,000 of our tax money to “educate” the public on the bond issue. They plan to send out 72,000 ballot advertisements and you should have received their first post card. There will be three more ballot advertisements to come from the City before the election.
I did not support these bond issues, and over the next few newsletters I will be discussing the reasons in detail. Councilmember Crow and I will be holding two Town Hall meetings on these bond issues. Everyone is invited. Save the dates and bring your questions:
Tuesday, March 24, 2015 at 7:00 PM at McNair Administration Bldg. (8136 Groby Rd.)
Thursday, March 26, 2015 at 7:00 PM at the University City Library Auditorium.