Affton School Board Sets New Tax Rate, OKs Borrowing Initiative

Tax rate on residential property inches up; but property owners may not see hike

The Affton School District Board of Education at its September meeting raised the residential tax rate about six cents per $100 of assessed value, but the typical Affton School District taxpayer likely won’t notice much of a change in the upcoming tax bill.

As board member Tom Bellavia explained in his report, the residenitial rate the board unanimously adopted moves to $5.35 from $5.29 a year ago. The increase, however, will be offset for many homeowners because assessments declined nearly eight percent from 2010 to 2011.

“Valuations and rates move in opposite directions in order to keep the tax yield level,” Bellavia explained. “The end result of either scenario is level tax collections for the school district.”

Tax rates for commercial real estate and personal property remain at 2011 levels — $5.618 and $4.513, respectively.

“The overall effect is minimal and the net result is a slight revenue reduction for the district,” Board President Mike McNeil said.

Still on the subject of money, the board authorized the administration to pursue a borrowing policy that would result in a $7.8 million building capital fund. Currently, relatively low lending rates spurred the action, which would be used to underwrite technological and facility needs including flooring and lighting upgrades and HVAC system additions.

“Our buildings are well maintained and in good condition, but some of the finishes are quite old, dating to the 1960s,” McNeil said. “How the money will be spent will be defined by a detailed audit process.

“During the first semester we are engaged in an audit of our technology and infrastructure. In the spring semester we will be performing a detailed facility audit,” McNeil continued. “We expect to engage the public in both processes and these will guide our spending. We want to create a positive learning environment for our students and a good working environment for our staff.”

The initial discussions on the borrowing plan include budgeting $500,000 for debt service over the next 20 years after locking in current interest rates.

Published on September 28, 2012 in the South County Times

Article by Joe Leicht

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