Council approves tax rate | News

There will be no change in the property tax rate for the largest community in St. Francois County.

The Farmington City Council approved the rate of $0.4481 per $100 assessed valuation during regular session on Monday – the same as the previous year.

The rate will generate about $960,000 a year.

“We’re constantly adding, on average, between $7- and $10 million dollars to assessed valuations,” Farmington City Administrator Greg Beavers said after the meeting. “It’s been on a steady uptick, mostly due to new construction” as well as reassessments to properties after they are sold.

The tax rate has stayed consistent for a number of years, Beavers said. A tax rate approved by the voters years ago was 85 cents per $100 assessed valuation.

“The city reduced that through the ’90s and early 2000s by quite a bit,” he said. “We are in the mid-45 (cent) range right now. Once you make those reductions, you can’t increase it without voter approval.”

The exception, he said, is through the incremental Hancock Amendment adjustment – a process explained by finance director, Michelle Daniel.

The city pays the St. Francois County Collector about $24,000 for collecting the taxes.

Beavers said the city’s property tax is just one component of property taxes paid.

“I think the total levy in Farmington with the school district and all the other taxing jurisdictions is about $5.25, something like that,” he said. “Our rate is just a very small part of that.”

The city administrator explained most of the city’s funding comes from sales tax revenue.

“That’s automatically adjusted with your spending habits and income levels,” he said. “It’s a fairer tax system, I think.”

Along those lines, the council will hold a final budget work session next month.

“We have a big budget,” Beavers said. “It will run – on a typical year with the capital improvements that we do – north of $50 million. This year, we’ve not consolidated everything as of yet, but I suspect that, without a major borrowing this year for infrastructure like we had last year, that we will be in mid-40 (million) range on our budget.”

Read more about this process in this week’s Farmington Press.

In other business, a discussion was held on feedback received from the community regarding congregation on the parking lot of the sports complex.

During his report, Beavers said it is better to have a “gathering place” for teens and youth in town – yet recent complaints and safety issues coming to the attention have the city looking for solutions to address those issues.

“We feel we need to provide a safe space or a space for kids to congregate in town because it’s what young adults and people do,” he said. “Business owners don’t want that liability on their property. We don’t favor them leaving town to someplace. At least here close to town there is some pretty rapid police response if there is some problem.”

During the meeting, Ward I Councilman Cody Eaves made a statement the city administrator felt best conveyed what the city is taking steps to work on to ensure the safety of all.

Eaves stated he was not “passionate” about the use of the lot – but sees the importance of working on a set of standards of conduct for the area.

“If they are not going to police themselves, we will make an effort to police them,” Eaves said.

Beavers said the city is compelled to look at the current ordinances to enforce standards on the park and, in allowing those to use the location, having standards in place to ensure there is structure and working to prevent damage and other safety issues.

“But again, we feel like just not providing the space is not the best answer,” Beavers said.

In other business, council also approved an amendment with the development agreement with Stetty Properties, LLC for property located at 3 N. Jefferson St. Beavers said developers Brian Stamm and Keith Petty have a retailer for the space in the former Morris Brothers building and will be finishing work on rehabilitating the property.

Also approved through second readings and council action were an application for rezoning to C-2 Commercial from R-3 Residential for property at 606 KREI Blvd. as well as a proposed amendment to the section of subdivision regulations regarding minimum design and development standards. The second eliminates the green space fee charged to developers.

Under consent agenda, council approved a real estate contract with John Forrester for property located at 826 Potosi St., a contract with Visu-Sewer for 2017 manhole rehabilitation and a contract with the Farmington R-7 School District pertaining to the use of the Farmington Civic Center and Centene Center.

The council also approved appointing Mayor Larry Forsythe and Eaves to the Maple Valley CID Board.

Nancy Cozean addressed the council regarding a rededication ceremony at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday for the marker in Long Park on Ste. Genevieve Avenue noting the Plank Road, which ran through Farmington from 1853 until 1905.

Tours of Long House will be conducted. Sheriff Dan Bullock and his band will perform during the event. The ceremony is hosted by the Daughters of the American Revolution and Daughters of American Colonists. The community is invited to attend.

Council next meets for regular session at 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 14.

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