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Mehlville Schools Tax Rate to Increase

The Mehlville School District Board of Education voted 4-3 to increase the tax rates.

Editor's Note - 9/26/12 2:30 p.m. - This story incorrectly represented school board member Richard Franz's proposed tax rates. The wrong information has been removed from the story. The issue is being corrected, and a correction will be issued as soon as possible. We regret the error.

The commercial real estate tax rate for 2012 has been corrected. The original number of $4.0081 was incorrect.

The Board of Education for the Mehlville School District voted Tuesday night to approve increasing the tax rates.

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The new tax rates are:

Levy Type 2012 Tax Rate 2011 Tax Rate Real Estate - Residential $3.6494 $3.6634 Real Estate - Agricultural $4.0920 $4.0897 Real Estate - Commercial $3.5716 $3.4372 Personal Property $4.0081 $3.9678 Blended Rate $3.6881 $3.6661

The blended rate is a combination of the four tax levies (residential, agricultural, commercial and personal property) used by state officials. The blended rate increased by $.0220.

The increase will mean an additional $1 million in revenue for the district over the next two years.

The rates will remain the same for the next two years.

The revenue from the tax will be divided into four areas: special (teacher's) fund, general (incidental) fund, capital and debt service.

Residents Speak Up

The tax hearing drew enough interested parents, teachers and residents to fill the school board hearing room, but only two people addressed the board. 

Jim Murphy, who said he's been examining the district's budget since the last finance committee meeting, said it was unacceptable for the district to build a budget assuming the taxes would increase when the board had not yet held a public hearing on the new tax rates.

"The most alarming is the revelation that the school district prepared and approved a budget while making an assumption of a tax increase prior to any public hearings on the issue," Murphy said in a prepared statement. "I feel this is disrespectful to the Mehlville taxpayers and is not acceptable."

Dave Wessel, representing the John Cary Early Childhood Center's parent-teacher organization, raised the point that parents are helping schools afford necessary tools and supplies. Wessel said his group has raised and spent $25,000 over six years to bring supplies like safety walkie-talkies to classrooms.

Read Wessel's Letter to the Editor about this issue on Mehlville-Oakville Patch.

Several of the parents, teachers and residents at the meeting said they'd wanted to speak up for or against the tax increase but either didn't know speakers must register before the meeting or were too late to sign up.

Last night was Deb Rieger's first Mehlville school board meeting. Rieger said she wanted to tell the board she is against a tax increase, but she simply didn't know the protocol for presenting to the board.

Franz's Plan

The school district's vote to increase tax rates is allowed under an 1985 vote that set a ceiling for rate increases. The current rates are about 10 cents below that ceiling.

School board member Richard Franz, who voted against the tax increase, disagreed with using a 26-year-old vote to determine current tax rates.

"When the voters approved that, it was a different world," Franz said. "We weren't sitting on an $18 million surplus. We weren't sitting on the current economic situation on either the national, the community level or even the district here."

Liz September 26, 2012 at 11:26 AM
So let me make sure I understand this....the board raised overall rates .02 cents. Essentially keeping them level overall and Mr. Murphy is upset with this? State law assures local districts can maintain current levels of income from local taxes. Mr. Franz wanted the board to RAISE residential rates but keep the artificially low commercial rate low and keeping agricultural and personal property essentially flat. He wants to "protect" the taxpayer's checkbook but wanted to raise the vast majority of people's taxes on their real estate? I truly do not understand.
Tina Flynn September 26, 2012 at 01:05 PM
Who voted for and who voted against it?
Ruth H. September 26, 2012 at 01:10 PM
It should be noted by the media – and the board – that Jim “Papa" Murphy is board member, Katy Eardley’s, FATHER. How convenient it must be for him to “have a seat” at the board without having to actually run for public office. Guess that’s how it goes in Mehlville when you buy your little girl’s way onto the board – plying voters with wine and cheese parties and accepting gifts from out of state donors. And this is a volunteer position? There must be some addiction to power.
D Seidel September 26, 2012 at 02:49 PM
17 schools. 17 PTOs. Approximately 11,000 students – most with at least one parent/guardian. You would think these meetings would be packed to the walls with people standing up for kids – most too young to vote, but ALAS, THE PARENTS OF MEHLVILLE FAILED THEM YET AGAIN. Only a John Cary Early Childhood School rep spoke up for them before the tax rate hearing. I hope the rest of you enjoy selling Entertainment books, Market Day pies and the like, because if "Franz and friends" have their way, you’ll need all the pennies you can scrape together. Franz, Stoner and Eardley voted in lockstep with one another. How much are they COSTING the district in revenue that was already approved by voters? Franz hinted at an election to REDUCE school taxes? Each election/ballot item COSTS Mehlville more money! You won’t get it all the details from the media. Watch for the video on http://www.schooltube.com/organization/219125/ Better yet, ATTEND A MEETING FOR YOURSELF! Show your support for our schools? LIKE and SHARE https://www.facebook.com/MCT4Mehlville
Bryan Andrews. September 26, 2012 at 02:52 PM
Just more proof that Franz doesn't understand as a taxpayer I'm glad he tossed me under the bus. Obviously he still doesn' speak for me. As for Mr Murphy dont know him dont care. If Mrs Eardley wants her daddy to set the bar its fine by me I voted against her.
Mike Baker September 26, 2012 at 03:56 PM
Hey Donna...Berating and YELLING at the schools organizations and saying the parents failed the kids "yet again" is ridiculous. Did you speak at this meeting? I couldn't because I was being a dad to my kids and getting them where they needed to go Tuesday night. My wife, a teacher at Point was at literacy night at school. As parents, and a taxpayers in the district and someone who has "liked" the MCT4 Mehlville we do take an interest in these meetings and I do voice my opinion plus show up at the Town Hall meetings. Honestly I am offended that you even have the audacity to speak to the parents of the district this way. Your actions in this post are not going to get butts in the seats. Some parents don't like to go to these meetings and speak, some show support other ways. I am afraid that your post has done nothing to UNITE the parents of this district and may have prevented parents from showing up at future meetings. Next time you have a post, think about what you are saying and who you are saying it to prior to hitting the "submit" button.
PaulRevere September 26, 2012 at 04:12 PM
Why does the rate for Commercial Property go up 57cents.? (from $3.43 to $4.00) up 16.5%. Why NO rate increase on Residential? Every business establishment in Mehlville will see their Real Estate taxes INCREASE 16.5% while RESIDENT'S stay about the same. Your Pizza place, Frankie G's, Oberweiss, Gas stations, Shopping centers, Hair salon's and every business you use WILL BE PAYING MORE. EVERY RESIDENT WILL be paying higher prices to support $1million Tax increases on business. What a gimmick, to hide a TAX INCREASE on ALL Residents by passing it on to every Business in Mehlville. Now , many business owners operating in Mehlville do not even live in Mehlville. They have no children going to Mehlville schools. They have no votes on these increases. All Residents are encouraged to question WHY, Businesses and NOT residents should be stuck with 100% of the needed school increases. YES! EVERY RESIDENT WILL EVENTUALLY PAY THE TAX INCREASE. ALL WILL BE PAYING $1million more in Taxes for the schools, because everything you buy will increase in price. That's how Democratically run School Boards HIDE/ASSESS Taxes in this NEW ERA of Taxation. Blame higher prices on the Businesses is their Hope! Now, I am actually for Total removal of any Residential Real Estate taxes and FULL support of our Public Schools by only one COMMERICIAL REAL ESTATE TAX. Because That's where its headed. Let's vote on that NOW! Is anybody for a simple One Commercial Real Estate tax rate.?
D Seidel September 26, 2012 at 04:25 PM
Hi Mike. Nope, I did not speak at this hearing because our PTOs do not share their financial information, therefore I could not represent. I do spend much time volunteering at, advocating for and acquiring grant money for our schools. By the way, your wife is one of my favorite teachers. Thanks for you all you do. :o)
NWJTAK September 26, 2012 at 04:35 PM
This entire thread is out of control. First of all Mr. Murphy did not come out against the rate increase, he said it was inappropriate for the board to spend the increase in the budget prior to the Public Hearing. Making the hearing a farce. Franze proposed to leave all of the rates the same while adopting the slightly lower residential rates not increasing the residential rates as was inaccurately reported by Lindsay.
Pam Z September 26, 2012 at 04:42 PM
Re: Ruth's comment, before throwing stones, do you not think out of state relatives have the right to give to a family member if they so choose? That is what happened. For others that want to keep drinking the Kool Aid, know this. The board will continue to fund the most important things LAST (teacher's, bus service, electric). They tell us that they have extra money for auditorium/tennis courts. This money could of been used to pay for more teacher's, extra for teacher's compensation, or retirement of debt. They CHOSE to put this money into non essential learning items. As long as we continue to hand the money over, do not expect different results.
Ruth H. September 26, 2012 at 04:55 PM
The board itself stated that the money being used for auditorium and tennis courts was previously allocated to be used for capital improvements - Prop P. Are you suggesting that they break the law that was set forth by voters/taxpayers? Should they let it sit idle? How would that demonstrate good stewardship? Interest rates are at a historic low. Now is the time to build up capital.
Mike Baker September 26, 2012 at 05:05 PM
Donna: Let me first say Thank You for all you do! I also appreciate your kind words regarding my wife. Donna, we as parents, and supporters of this district need to remain united. We have to build on getting folks to attend meetings both, School Board and Town Hall. If we alienate and show that there is a fracture in those that support this district, Franz, Stoner and Eardley win. Make no mistake, I am tired of Rich and his "Franzstanding" at these meetings speaking about the taxpayers he represents, because, as Ron so eloquently put it, we are all taxpayers, including Franz. He, Mark and Kathleen do not represent what I want this district to be now, nor in the future. Remember words can divide a group..we can't bite the hand that helps feed (support / supplement) the district, the PTO's, Mom's Clubs as well as the parents...who by the way, are ALL taxpayers!
Liz September 26, 2012 at 06:44 PM
There was an article in the Oakville Call or on the Patch recently that explained this. There was a question about the tax rate on commercial property- the new rate represents what should have been charged last year and this year. Businesses got by with a lower than legal rate last year because the school district followed the law and didn't impose an illegal tax rate on business. Once it was determined by the state what the allowable levy would be, they decided not to reset the rate. They waited until this year to do so. As far as Mr. Murphy's intent, that's a great idea....but a huge problem because tax rates are set in the fall and budgets are approved in the spring. Perhaps he can lobby Representative Haefner to make changes to allow school districts to set rates earlier (of course then assessments will need to be done earlier too!)
PaulRevere September 26, 2012 at 07:28 PM
Ruth: I thought Public School Education was "for the Children". I would therefore question your "time to Build up capital" comment. That is the problem with our public school officials mentality. Ignore the Plight of Residents. More extra-curricular buildings and sporting facilities seem a stretch for the "education" dollar. Since when, do tennis courts or large auditoriums come under the definition of "Free Public EDUCATION". They increase Real Estate taxes imposed on every Resident. Building a new auditorium will wind up costing all in future tax increases (For maintenance and energy costs). The Auditorium is certainly NOT FREE. The auditorium is an additional project to Prop P. So-called Interest savings (From re-financing) on Prop P could just as well have been a reduction of Every Residents Real estate taxes. If Prop P improvements were accomplished, our Board could have chosen to -untax- the unneeded Interest cost. Instead , they chose to keep Prop P alive in building a New Auditorium. But, saying it was "FREE" is mind boggling to me. I do not believe they would have Broken any laws, by asking for a "Tax Rate Decrease". (Just like projects that go over cost do not stop them from asking for Rate Increases)
Bob McKitrick September 26, 2012 at 07:31 PM
A lot of this behavior is disturbing to me. Compromise is becoming a 4 letter word. I don't share the same politics as some of the board members, but I am really getting tired of all the grandstanding. If there is a "silent majority" in Mehlville/Oakville that feels the same way - I hope they make that known at the ballot box. Nothing drastic has happened yet, but doing something like radically changing how the school district collects tax revenue ("The Franz Plan") has the potential to be really dangerous. And they were one vote away. One vote. As a Mehlville taxpayer, my rates are not going to drastically change on my home or personal property. So why such radical steps to change the way taxes are collected? Voters haven't approved a tax rate increase in Mehlville in a long time. There is a tax rate ceiling for Mehlville as there is in other districts. Concerned taxpayers should take the time to study their rates, rate ceilings and how they are calculated. In short, setting a tax rate when there hasn't been an approved tax rate increase by voters should be routine. The fact that it hasn't been for the past two years says a lot about the new members of this school board and how dead set they are on imposing their conservative politics on how our district does business. Franz, Stoner, and Eardley are playing a dangerous game - and the scary part is that they either don't realize that or they don't care.
RWRJR September 26, 2012 at 07:33 PM
Mr. Franz did not vote to raise the residential rate. In fact, his proposal was in line with what the school district requested, a reduction in the residential rate. And, he proposed freezing the commercial, personal property, and agricultural arates at their current 2011 levels. Just thought you should know.
Bryan Andrews September 26, 2012 at 08:46 PM
Here why not just keep it the same no harm no foul. If these 7 people can't get their ducks in a row fire them all Niether side can have their cake and eat it to. On a lighter note Paul Revere is dead please put your real name so I can give you credit for the intelligent things you say
Lindsay Toler September 26, 2012 at 09:26 PM
Hello all: There were some errors in my reporting of this story, for which I whole-heartedly apologize. Here is a story explaining: http://mehlville-oakville.patch.com/articles/patch-corrects-errors-in-school-tax-rate-reporting
PaulRevere September 26, 2012 at 09:46 PM
Bryan: I'm on that "lighter note" huh! Thanks. I need no credit. I need more riders. That is to help the whole Public school system (Statewide) get their act in order. Too many residents are being taxed to "death". And believe me, I know about Death. When a public service that is supposed to be "Free" becomes a Life-of-Riley style annuity for a selective group called "educators" , who call themselves Professionals, that offends me. Let me ask you about "intelligent" things. 1)Is it intelligent to tax the automobile of a person making only $30,000 to help pay for the Education of a child whose parents make over $100,000 per year? 2)Is it intelligent to equally tax a $150,000 home without regard to the wages earned by that homeowner? (For example: 1 family earns $50,000 2nd family earns $100,000. Should both pay same tax on their $150K homes.) 3) Is it intelligent to force individuals or businesses to spend hundreds of dollars challenging (arbitraryAppraised values). 4) Is it intelligent to tell residents that our education system will partner with Federal Govt spending binge for Solar panels. (All in the name of "Free") Federal Grants cost billions to All taxpayers. FedGrants gives me the right to question how far our MO.Constitution defines "Education" I favor the needy and low wage earners. I'm not in favorable territory here. You should know that. So, my name should not keep you from crediting the intelligent things I might promote.
Pam Z September 26, 2012 at 11:37 PM
Paul Revere, you have more riders. Just to encourage you, there is always a remnant of people who get it. There are also some that will read remnant and think we are talking carpet. The ceiling they are discussing was passed in '85. Our next discussion needs to include who is still alive that passed this and what should be done about this. The next step is electing another conservative and revisiting '85 to see who still wants this.
PaulRevere September 27, 2012 at 07:59 AM
BOB: After reading your comment, I must say that Franz seems to be my kind of "rider". Especially when you label a plan as "conservative politics". Kind of reminds me of those same claims at the "Mehlville fire district". (You do know those conservative pension changes actually did "save" RESIDENT'S Taxes.) Whose side are you on? There will be a silent majority, all over this state ready to change how School districts collect "LESS" revenues to "educate" rather than build Quasi- Country Clubs. If Franz recognizes that, then all he need do is educate the residents and business owners , how their taxes can and should decrease. It is time for the financial ability of "Residents" to dictate how much to allocate for Education. (What they can afford to pay.) (Instead of the current funding based on Guaranteed Contracts dictating how much Residents "MUST" pay.) I must also correct you and other school officials who state that no rate increases somehow equates to NO TAX $ INCREASES. That is totally false. A constant rate (one that stays the same) can still create a TAX INCREASE for the Homeowner. Their increased home values in those same rate years DID give that Homeowner/Businesses a TAX DOLLARS Real estate tax increase. That is how the school district received it's Bonanza revenues in past years. Guess where all that went!!!!
Ruth H. September 27, 2012 at 03:39 PM
"Individually focused. Committed to all." Tagline for Mehlville School District. Perhaps that should be re-examined.
PaulRevere September 27, 2012 at 04:50 PM
How about an old tagline-- "ALL for one-and One for ALL" I hate that word "Individually". If the tax-rates were "individually focused", maybe the "Committment to ??? needs to be discussed. Mehlville's Tax rates are fair and useful. The board should be commended. But, The future costs increases are still un-known. The Board needs to sincerely consider the real affect of Obamacare on "Private Industry". Politics aside, every Resident's ability to financially support the District's goals and guaranteed wage contracts needs re-examination. That is why "Committed to ????, needs re-examination. Unions are digging their own graves, because once "National Insurance" is in place, (once every college Grad has his automatic insurance), there is ZERO reason to Join any union. The biggest selling point of any Union is "major medical Benefits". Obamacare will steal that benefit as time goes by. It will be "FREE". What a country! I look forward to vote for major public school Tax decreases because of Obamacare. Heaven's, we are all Guaranteed to "see ALL our Medical Insurance" DECREASE in cost" Right? The words of BARACK H. OBAMA. So let's keep the Rates right where they are. Let's see the Educator's come up with higher deductibles, without raising our Taxes. We are still 5 years away from any meaningful Property value increases. Trust me.
Bryan Andrews September 28, 2012 at 02:27 PM
I'm with Paul on this one leave it as it is if it doesn't work then fine. Come to the voters with documented proof. The mistake that was made in the last prop was the district made a wish list that you presented to young parents and they bought it. They would have done better by asking for less with 5 yr term and vote again like Lindburg did. Until the economy recovers and people feel they can afford more for public schools let's just stop the battle of the two parties and start working together on the best education for the students. With the funding we have.
JohnAdams September 29, 2012 at 01:02 AM
I would have to concern myself with one point of Mr. Revere's comments. The Hancock Amendment does not provide for tax increases without voter approval, save every other year a CPI adjustment which is value neutral. While he points out his property value may increase, the revenue for the districts in Missouri cannot. The revenue must remain constant. Mr. Revere, if your taxes increase, it is because your neighbor's has decreased. The district cannot take in more revenue than prior years. Also why the residential rate decreased this year. The board must do so to keep revenue constant. This is why back in the early 2000s the tax rate was 3.9~% and now 3.6~%. The increase in revenue comes from new construction or improvements. This is the reason why school districts tend to go to voters with rate increases every few years. The value of their revenue increases at a slower rate than inflation. https://mospace.umsystem.edu/xmlui/bitstream/handle/10355/2888/HancockAmendmentMissourisTax.pdf?sequence=1
JohnAdams September 29, 2012 at 01:10 AM
So you admit that all tax payers are not the same. I wish Mr. Franz would do so when he speaks of the "taxpayers" for which he is looking out. What is your argument Pam? That public schools shouldn't exist? They shouldn't cost so much? Or they should do less?
PaulRevere October 02, 2012 at 12:26 AM
John Adams: School tax revenues come from Auto values, Cigarette lawsuit bonanza's, Casino fees, real estate, and now major Federal Grants in the form of Solar energy credits supported by Federal Government. Let's just let this play out. Soon there will be new discussions about needed revenues. Then, I will have some live pertinent facts to make my points. In the meantime , I would make some efforts to challenge What should be defined as "Education dollar" in Missouri. Public Education "AT WHAT COST" "AT WHAT WAGES" needs to be put back in the voter booth. Maybe,Taken out of the Board's hands. The taxing valuation methods are very irregular right now. Whle I don't have time for details, I could estimate that Businesses are paying over 50% of the Public school system expenses. That directly affects their bottom line. A better informed Resident should understand that Public education is Costing about $8,000 per student. Many still think it's FREE. That must change!. TO BE CONTINUED!
Mike Stevens October 04, 2012 at 11:48 AM
Some people seem to think (Franz) that having $18 million in the "fund balance" is a terrible thing and that money should be lower. What people need to realize is that school districts really don't get any money until around November in terms of payments into their accounts. So that fund balance is used to pay for the expenses the district incurs from July 2 until new money is deposited. In previous years Mehlville had such a low fund balance that they had to borrow money to make those payments at the beginning of every year, usually with loans that had short term payoffs and huge interest rates, costing the taxpayers close to an extra $500,000 each year.....but the fund balance was low and it looked like "We are not taking more than we need." So if Franz wants to go back to the days when Mehlville cut millions from the budget, borrowed millions with huge interest rates, decreased the number of staff, and, oh yeah, landed in the middle of the pack on test scores and achievement, then people should support that. But if Franz and others want to see a 21st century district where technology is purchased and updated, where teachers have the newest training and research-backed supports, where Mehlville can be the first place teachers apply for jobs and not the place they settle for when other districts don't hire them, then change is needed.
Columbus October 05, 2012 at 01:46 PM
The fact of the matter is the savings from refunding the Prop P debt could have been used to shorten the length of time of the debt and taxpayers would have seen their taxes go down in a few years. They slipped this one by, probably due to ignorance on the part of the public, as to what would have happened had the funds not been used for additonal, new facilities that were never part of Prop P. In effect, it really does amount to a significant tax increase without a vote of the people. I think the priorities are confused right now.
PaulRevere May 11, 2013 at 05:59 PM
2013 Educator Pay raises of "ONLY 2.5%" are now in place, TAX Rate increases will start to dominate the headlines. So here is some numbers (Not percentages) of just how much a 2.5% raise really costs. Let's assume Total Payroll of budget--- W-2's estimated maybe $60,000,000 ($60m) Est only. 2.5% = $1,500,000 ($1.5m) MORE Payroll. PLUS 217,500 More District Pension costs on the raises 14.5%X1.5m=.3625% PLUS xxx? Increase in Worker/comp Insurance.(This cost is based on Payroll Dollars. PLUS ????$$$ increase in retirement benefit cost at retirements due to Also , the pensions at retirement go up. Also affecting the Tax rates needed. (EVERY RAISE COSTS MUCH MORE THAN THE announced percentages) Now, I hope our board understatnds that giving simple percentages is somewhat misleading to those paying the Bills. I would suggest ALL FUTURE BUDGET INCREASES BE STATED IN "DOLLARS & CENTS". All Future Budget raises also state the additional costs of Worker Injury Insurance , which is Based on "Payroll Dollars" not per teacher. All future Pay increases should state the additional Pension payment affect. A 2.5% raise is really closer to 3%. It is fairer to report a $1,717,000 cost increase (this year & next on) rather than a 2.5% raise. That's all out of the Taxpayer pockets, right into the Teacher pockets. Coming!"Tuition Free Kintergarten???".

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