By MARK EVANS
STE. GENEVIEVE HERALD
Setting a new tax rate is never a simple matter for the Ste. Genevieve R-II School District and other taxing entities. This year it is even dicier.
With Holcim Concrete coming onto the county tax rolls and challenging the county’s assessed valuation of their plant as expected, things are somewhat in limbo as far as projected revenue goes.
Not only will the Payments In Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) payments of some $2.9 million year as part of the county’s Chapter 100 agreement with Holcim stop, the district will also be liable for potentially millions of dollars in legal fees if Holcim winds up taking the issue to court. (The district received 75 percent of the $4.8 million Holcim paid out each year and is thus responsible for 75 percent of the legal fees the taxing entities incur in fighting the cement company.)
Add to that some building needs that will have to be addressed soon, and the process becomes even more challenging.
Dr. Julie Flieg, superintendent, went through all those factors before presenting a proposed rate to the board during a tax hearing prior to the regular board meeting on Aug. 24.
The board then adopted a general fund tax rate of $2.9017 per $100 of assessed valuation and a total tax rate of $3.3971, down from $3.4617 a year ago.
“This is very complicated this year,” Flieg warned the board at the start of the hearing.
By state law, school district’s funds must be divided into four groups, an incidental or general fund, a teacher’s fund, a debt service fund and a capital projects fund.
Flieg recommended putting additional money in the general fund ($2.9017, compared to $1.8417 a year ago) with none in the teachers fund (usually $1.1800).
The total tax rate has decreased by 6.46 cents.
“So, for those of us who own our homes and have not made any improvements or put any new buildings on our properties this year, you’re going to see a very small decrease in the taxes that you pay for the district,” Flieg said.
The maximum debt service rate allowable is 0.53. The district is taking a voluntary rollback of 9.71 cents and maintaining a 0.440 rate. This has been the rate since 2018, when it increased from 0.26.
She noted that the county’s assessed valuation jumped from $407,502,490 in 2020-21 to $801,407, 724 in 2021-22.
“I know there’s a rumor out there tat all of our taxes are being increased,” Flieg said. “That is not true.”
She then explained the Holcim situation and noted that the increase in valuation is largely because of the ce