Brentwood Library Director: Missouri Law Stated They Had to Take Full Amount Voted On

Brentwood Library Director Vicki Woods said nobody in the city had experience with raising the library tax rate, and there was lots of confusion.

Brentwood Library Director Vicki Woods, at Patch’s request, made an attempt to clarify some of the confusion around the library tax rate, the Hancock amendment and the vote, which passed.

Woods wanted it to be clear that her comments are her interpretation of the laws. “I’m not a lawyer,” she said. “This is how I interpret the statutes.”

The Hancock amendment was intended to limit the amount of revenue raised by the state, giving the voters the final say on whether they pay higher taxes.

“When housing prices go up, Hancock says that libraries can’t cash in on that,” Woods said.

She said the library tax rate has been at 25 cents since 1984, but that rate was only collected in 1984. It went down to 15 cents in 1985, and has been only as high as 19 cents since then.

“If Hancock had not been in place, the library’s revenues would have increased too,” she said. “When housing prices go up, Hancock tells us we can collect less. Our rates go down.”

She said the only way for the library to increase its tax rate, with Hancock in place, is to ask the voters for a tax increase. It’s in the Missouri Constitution, in Section 22.

Voter approval is required before there can be an increase in the current levy of an existing tax above the current levy authorized by law on (date), even if increase is within the authorized constitutional and statutory maximum rate.

She said the constitution also states how the ballot question is to be worded. (Chapter 182 of the Missouri Revised Statutes)

Shall there be a tax of…. (insert amount) on each one hundred dollars assessed valuation of a public library?

“We didn’t get any room to explain collected rates, this is what the statute says has got to go on the ballot.”

She said she tried to explain the effect of the Hancock amendment on the library website. She said it’s been on the site since June.

Woods also said the law states that the tax on the ballot is what has to be collected.

If the majority of all the votes cast on the question is for the tax submitted, the tax specified in the notice shall be levied and collected in like manner…

 “In other words, it says in the statutes that we have to collect the tax that was voted on, but we didn’t, and that’s where there was a lot of confusion,” Woods said. “We thought that we actually had to (collect the full amount).”

She said she didn’t know the tax could be rolled back.

“We’ve never done this before. It says here that’s what we’re supposed to do,” she said. She said it took some frantic phone calls to figure out what they could do and how much they could collect.

The library board , per $100 of valuation.

We’re ecstatic about having the extra money,” Woods said. “It will go along way for us.”

Also in Patch:

  • Brentwood Library Board Adopts a Speaker Policy
  • Brentwood Library Tax Could Have Doubled: Wouldn't Have Been Nickel Increase
  • DeVaughan Appointed to Brentwood Library Board
  • Brentwood Voters Overwhelmingly Approve Library Tax Increase
  • Brentwood Voters to Consider Library Tax Levy Increase





Karen Smith September 27, 2012 at 01:20 PM
Vicki, Thanks for the explanation, but I am still confused. If the "library tax rate has been at 25 cents since 1984", (but we have instead only been collecting 19 cents since 1986) why did we need to have a ballot issue to increase it by 5 cents? The additional 5 cents increase would still leave us under the 25 cents ceiling? Karen
Brentwood Public Library September 27, 2012 at 03:10 PM
Karen, this is what the Hancock Amendment says: "Voter approval is required before there can be an increase in the current levy of an existing tax above the current levy authorized by law on (date), even if increase is within the authorized constitutional and statutory maximum rate." In other words, even if the Library had a voter approved rate to collect 25 cents, but due to levy roll backs is only collecting 16 cents, the library must receive voter approval before they can raise the rate above 16 cents. (The rate is determined by the county's assessor's office using a complicated formula.)
Karen Smith September 27, 2012 at 03:54 PM
I see...thanks for the clarification. Karen


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »