By MARK EVANS
Ste. Genevieve Herald
Rather than setting its personal property tax rate at the maximum rate allowed by law like the two previous years, the Ste. Genevieve Ambulance district board opted to maintain the same tax rate at a tax hearing prior to its monthly board meeting last Thursday.
The district will maintain its rate of $.0.0253 per $100 of assessed evaluation.
From 2010 through 2017 the board either rolled back or maintained its tax rate each year. A half-cent sales tax passed in 2006 made this possible. In recent years, however, sales tax revenue has fallen off.
This year, executive director Kendall Shrum advised the board to again go with the maximum allowable rate, which would have been $0.0259.
He had recommended it largely due to concerns about how the COVID-19 pandemic may affect tax revenue.
“Sales tax revenue is currently about 1.2 percent over, but that’s subject to change every month,” Shrum said noting that “that could be ate up real quick.”
The assessed valuation of the county increased by $2,295,829, a .4783 increase. The tax ceiling is .1147 before the sales tax reduction – same as last year. The sales tax reduction is .0888, which Shrum said worked out to about $437,147 versus a year ago’s figure of .0894, which came to $421,191.
“We’ve got to keep in mind we don’t know how COVID-19 is going to be affecting the district in the next year or so. Sales tax is still subject to major impact by that. Online purchases … we’re seeing a tend in that, with everybody not wanting to get out and shop around.”
He also pointed to uncertainty of what will happen when Holcim Concrete comes onto local tax rolls in 2021. The company may well challenge its valuations in court, holding up revenue. Also, Missouri’s annually increasing minimum wage must be factored in, Shrum said.