Richmond Heights property owners to get second tax bill – for $11

Real estate owners in Richmond Heights will be getting a second tax property bill for 2014 – this time, for $11 to cover an increase in the assessment for the city’s sewer lateral repair fund.

Richmond Heights voters in 2013 approved an increase in the sewer lateral assessment from $28 for $39 for each sewer connection. The city sent the St. Louis County Department of Revenue notice of the fee increase in late 2013, with instructions to adjust 2014 property tax bill accordingly. However, the increase was not reflected on property tax bills that went out last fall, City Manager Amy Hamilton told the Richmond Heights City Council Monday night (April 6).

The fee increase is necessary to cover increased costs associated with the popular program, council members said.

Due to the error, the city’s sewer lateral repair fund is now nearly empty, Hamilton reported.

Council members Monday night voted to subsidize the sewer lateral program out of the city’s general fund until the additional fee revenues are received. “This program is worth supporting,” District Two Councilman Rick Vilcek said.

The city’s sewer lateral repair program offers payments to help residential property owners cover the cost of repairs to broken or collapsed pipes from dwellings to St. Louis Metropolitan Sewer District lines.

After the county’s billing error was discovered, city council members considered waiting for 2015 property tax bills this fall to collect the increased fee, but, due to the resulting $30,000 fund shortfall, opted to ask the county for a second 2014 tax billing instead.

City officials did not indicate during Monday night’s meeting when the second round of tax bills mights be sent or when payment of the $11 fee would be due.
The city will ask the county revenue department to send the second billing at no charge, waiving a standard one percent collection fee that the county normally charges political subdivisions for collecting tax payments, according to Hamilton.

The city last year formally notified the county of the fee change in a registered letter and a received a signed acknowledged of receipt from the county, she said.

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