MAYOR'S CORNER

WHAT ARE YOU, CLARKSON VALLEY? 

Recently a citizen called me, not real happy.  Her concerns were two: 1) why Clarkson Valley's real estate tax was so much higher than Chesterfield's, and 2) what do citizens get for their Clarkson Valley taxes?  These are legitimate concerns and as we talked, I realized there must be many other citizens wondering about the same thing.  I did a little research about other cities taxes and would like to share the information.  How does your city compare to others in West County?  After all, Clarkson Valley owns nothing, i.e. no streets to repair, no buildings to maintain, etc.  So what about those taxes you pay that are directed to the city?  How do they compare to other cities' rates; what does the city provide you, the citizen; and are they doing so with efficiency? 

Taxes 

The total tax rate used to determine your tax bill is composed of many governmental entities; Rockwood School District, fire district, metropolitan zoo, county services, etc. and Clarkson Valley.  The residential real estate rate for Clarkson Valley is $.129 per $100.00 assessed valuation.  For a home assessed at $500,000.00 located in Clarkson Valley, the tax would be $122.55 while the same assessed value home in Chesterfield would be a $57.00 - difference of $65.55 a year.  Clarkson Valley provides trash pickup at no charge to the residents - but more on that later. 

Let's compare what other taxes you pay versus other cities: 

                                                Percentage of your bill added to your total bill

                        Chesterfield      Ballwin            Ellisville            Wildwood    Clarkson Valley

Water                     5%                       5%                       7%                          5%                   0%

Telephone              5%                       5%                       7%                          5%                   0%

Gas                        5%                       5%                       7%                          5%                   0%

Electric                   5%                       5%                       7%                          5%                   2%

Cable                     5%                       5%                       5%                          5%                   3% 

As you can see, the amount of tax dollars paid within each city differs greatly.  This is as it should be.  Chesterfield and the other municipalities shown above have streets, buildings, maintenance requirements to meet, etc. 

City Services 

Why was the City of Clarkson Valley formed?  And what have we evolved into?  The city was originally founded as a Village in 1950.  The basic reason was protection of property values, one-acre lots, residential in a country setting.  In 1987 the citizens voted to change our status to a city of the fourth class under Missouri state law.  This meant a Mayor/Board of Aldermen-type government with city wards, etc.  The city has three primary responsibilities (functions): 1) safety of individual citizens and their property, 2) protection of citizens' property values, 3) environmental protection.  What are these? 

1) Safety of citizens and their property.  We pass ordinances to ensure the appropriate law enforcement agencies - mainly the police - have the ability to provide safe living conditions throughout the city.  We have a police officer in our city full time with more than adequate backup as required.  We have our own municipal court, judge, prosecuting attorney and clerk. 

2) The city has maintained its fundamental plan of one-acre residential lot sizes (the only exceptions are the lots at the corner of Clarkson Road and Clayton Road).  Our building code ordinances are strictly enforced, as are our land use ordinances, i.e. construction inside the building lines.  These ordinances have served us well.  And today, some of the finest homes with beautiful surroundings can be found in Clarkson Valley.  

3) City ordinances addressing such environmental issues as noise pollutions, general nuisances, and solid waste management are in force.  We provide twice-weekly trash pickup, once a week recycling and yard waste pickup at no charge.  Remember, it is not necessary to take your trash to the curb.  They will pick it up at your garage door.  Note: please continue to recycle. 

Is the city a good steward of your money?  I will take another time to give you an itemized review of the city budget.  However, I think you can get a real feel for where your money goes by looking at our expense budget for July 1, 2006 to June 30, 2007.  Total expenses for this year are just under $1 million while the police ($360,732.00 and trash ($381,888.00) amounts totaled $742,620, or 76% of our total expense.  We were able to reduce this year's trash expense by 20% beginning October 2006 with a new hauler (we hear a lot of good things about their service).  We have been running a budget deficit for the last three years as expenses continue to outpace revenues.  As you know, this type of trend cannot continue for long.  We invite you to visit our website at www.clarksonvalley.org to review services provided and the budget, and welcome your suggestions and/or questions, too. 

We thank you for your support of your city and I hope this brief explanation will assist you in understanding why your city does what it does.  See you at our next Board Meeting - the first Tuesday of each month.
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