The One-Vision task force is recommending tax increases for the St. Joseph School District totaling about $1.15 per $100 of assessed valuation. If approved by the Board of Education later this month, voters will be asked to re-implement the 63-cent operating levy that was allowed to expire three years ago. The ballot question is also expected to include a request to return to the district’s previously-approved property tax ceiling, by waiving the so-called Proposition-C rollback.
Wes Metz, the district’s Director of Finance tells us Proposition C was a way for the state to juggle the books somewhat in an effort to get local district to reduce property taxes back in the early 1980s.
“The state determined at that time that they would provide sales tax money to school districts if they rolled back their property taxes,” Metz said. “But during the 1990s, school districts began running short of money, and the state funding was coming up a little short.”
Metz says the state then allowed local districts to waive the original Proposition C, to get back to their tax rate ceiling, and still collect the extra funds from the sales tax.
“Basically what that means is it raises you up to your tax rate ceiling that has already been approved by local taxpayers,” he said. St. Joseph did not waive the Prop-C rollback, although 95% of the school districts in Missouri have already taken advantage of the process.
So Metz says if the school board places the combined measure on the ballot in November, and if voters approve, the measure would add a total of about $1.15 to the district’s property tax levy. By eliminating the Prop-C rollback, the district would add 52 to 56 cents in local property tax. The proposal would also re-approve the 63 cent levy that expired in 2014. If approved, the changes would raise property taxes by about $218.50 per year for the owner of a $100,000 home.
Metz says the 1Vision task force was given five scenarios ranging from doing nothing to raising taxes by $1.50. They came back with the current proposal.
“It’s very ambitious,” Metz said. “But, if the district wants to move forward, and continue to improve, add additional programs and things like that, and try to compete with other school districts, and hopefully draw some people to our community, that’s what it’s going to take to move things forward.
The school board is expected to consider the proposal at its next meeting August 14. Voters could get their chance this November.