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Webster Groves received almost $639,000 last year in traffic ticket revenue. That is approximately 4% of the City’s general fund budget. The City is significantly below the statewide cap of 20%.
The Municipal Court levies a variety of fines for violations of local traffic laws and other City Ordinances. All receipts are deposited in the General Fund. Municipal Court Fines are a product of the penal system. It is not the City's policy to maximize its government finances through the use of the judicial process; therefore Court Fines are not considered a targeted revenue source that the City strives to achieve.
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Property taxes charged to Webster Groves residents are levied by various taxing entities, including the Webster Groves School District, the City of Webster Groves, St. Louis County, the State of Missouri, the Webster Groves Library, and the Metro Zoo/Museum District. For more information, view Page 6 of the Popular Annual Financial Report.
The levy amount for the City of Webster Groves for the 2016 tax year was $0.758 per $100 of assessed valuation. That amount was 8.26% of the total resident’s tax bill for the year. For example, for a home valued at $245,000 in 2016, approximately $4,271 was paid in taxes. Of that total:
$2,629 was paid to the Webster Groves School District ($5.6485 per $100)
$577.64 was paid to the Special School District ($1.2409 per $100)
$352.85 was paid to the City of Webster Groves ($.758 per $100)
Each of these entities have taxing authority and establish their own tax rates.
Property taxes charged by the City of Webster Groves are specifically for general government operations, street improvements, general obligation debt (for 2011 street improvement bonds), and for the police and fire pension.
The City of Webster Groves portion of your residential property tax bill was taxed at a rate of $0.758 in 2016. (See the answer to 'Where Does the Property Tax Go?').
It is worth noting that in 2016, there were 18 County municipalities with residential tax rates higher than Webster Groves including: Olivette ($1.2750), Maplewood ($1.000), Shrewsbury ($.9699) and Glendale ($.8490).
When making municipal tax rate comparisons it is also necessary to factor in the Fire Protection Districts which serve cities without their own fire department. For example, the City of Creve Coeur levied no property tax, but the residents are served by the Creve Coeur Fire Protection District which levied a property tax rate of $1.1790 per $100 of assessed valuation.
Webster Groves participates in something called the St. Louis County Sales Tax Pool. The formula that calculates the amount of sales tax that comes to the city is complicated. But, the City receives far more sales tax from the pool than is generated locally.
For instance, if our local businesses generate about $2 million dollars in a year that goes into the County Pool, the City receives nearly one and one half (1 ½) that amount back from the Pool.
It is important to note that some of that locally generated sales tax does not go into the St. Louis County Sales Tax Pool. Parks and Stormwater and Fire Protection Funds are small additional sales taxes approved by only Webster Groves residents and that revenue comes directly to the city.
The vitality of our local businesses is an important aspect of making ours a desirable and thriving community. But, being a small part of a large pool means, from a revenue perspective, the overall economic health of the region is what is most important to Webster Groves. And, the most significant negative impact on our sales tax revenue has come from the increase of online purchases that do not collect sales tax.
The largest portion of a homeowner's property tax goes to the Webster Groves School District and the Special School District. Sales tax is not a revenue source for these institutions, so it is unlikely that property taxes would fall with more retail businesses. For detailed information regarding the City's various revenue sources, see the Fiscal Year 2018 budget, 'Major Sources of Revenue' section.