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Clayton Holds First Reading Of Proposed 2011 Tax Rates

September 07, 2011
Providing for city services was a subject of discussion for the Clayton Board of Aldermen, as it held several public hearings to consider the city's 2011 tax rates and a conditional use permit for construction of the city's new police facility.

At its Aug. 23 meeting, the board held a public hearing and a first reading of the proposed 2011 tax rates. For the real estate and personal property tax levy, which covers the city's general fund and debt levy, the proposed residential rate is $.626, a $.023 change from 2010.

The commercial rate is a proposed $.712, an increase of $.040 over 2010. The personal and debt levy amounts of $.707 and $.091 respectively will both remain unchanged from 2010.

With the proposed rates, a homeowner with a house valued at $600,000 will pay approximately $817 in property taxes to the city of Clayton. That represents an increase of $24 over 2010. All rates are per $100 of assessed value.

In the opinion of several board members, those numbers represent a good value to residents, something that they believe needs to be promoted more.

"When I look at the figures and see $817 in taxes on a $600,000 home, I know people who live in condos who pay more than that (in fees) on a monthly basis," said Mayor Linda Goldstein. "Those taxes cover public safety services like police and fire protection as well as ice and snow removal. I am appreciative to our professional staff for making Clayton such a great place to live."

Goldstein said she knows taxes are a touchy subject, and that outreach and education are important in helping residents know what they are getting for their money.

"I echo Mayor Goldstein in communicating to the citizens about the intrinsic value behind their taxes, and we should be more proactive about discussing the value behind those taxes,"

During the hearing there were no comments from the two residents in attendance. The board will hold a second reading and possible approval at its next meeting Sept. 13.

For the city's special business district, its downtown area, the residential rate for 2011 is a proposed $.110, an increase of $.002 from 2010. The commercial rate is $.133, an increase of $.004.

Police Headquarters

The board also held a public hearing on a conditional use permit for the city's new police headquarters to be located at 10 S. Brentwood.

The six-story building has 83,769 square feet of space. The police department will use approximately 47,5000 square feet from the basement through the third floor. The fourth, fifth and sixth floors will initially remain unoccupied. The building also has a three-level parking garage.

City Manager Craig Owens told the board that when the city's plan commission and architectural review board discussed the conditional use permit, which they ultimately approved for recommendation to the aldermen, they had three main issues of concern.

The first was about the location of an 822-square-foot sally port (a secure entrance way used by the police) to be placed on the south side of the building. It was determined that the proposed location was the only spot that could give the police the access that they needed without necessitating significant architectural changes.

There was also discussion on the size and placement of an enclosure for some electrical equipment which will be moved from the basement to the outside of the building. The new enclosure, originally proposed at 780 square feet, was reduced to 416 square feet. Owens said the equipment will be "as skinnied up to the building as much as possible, and be as hidden as possible."

A third issue was the alignment of a solar panel array to be placed in the third floor of the garage. The discussion centered on whether the panels should be placed directly on the floor of the garage or elevated on a trellis. Owens said the plan commission favored the trellis system based on the fact that it would leave additional room for parking.

The aldermen ultimately decided to mount the panels on the floor, reasoning that some parking spaces would not be needed immediately, due to the upper floors of the building not initially being used. In addition, mounting the panels on the floor would be approximately $600,000 cheaper.

The board ultimately approved the permit, which had received no comments from the audience.

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