Jul 28, 2014

Fenton Asks Voters if Tax Collector's Office Should Be Shelved

Image of the collector riding the trails to collect town's due is not far from the truth, mayor says.

Fenton Asks Voters if Tax Collector's Office Should Be Shelved

The tax man no  longer cometh on horseback. in Fenton.

The office that employed the tax man is still occupied, however, but  it no longer carries any official duties and could become a thing of the past in Fenton after April 5.

Proposition 1 on that day's election ballot asks voters “Shall the Board of Aldermen of the City of Fenton, Missouri, provide by ordinance for the appointment of a Collector as provided for by the Statutes of the State of Missouri?”

A simple majority is required for approval.

No one has filed for the collector's office, which currently occupied by Carol Brennan. Brennan has not filed for reelection to the office and has instead filed as a mayoral candidate.

The position, which used to pay $1,000 per year but now pays $1 per year, originated in the early days when the currently incorporated City of Fenton was still a town and actually had someone on the payroll to go out and collect taxes from residents.

The first plat for the Town of Fenton was recorded in April, 1837; the City of Fenton was re-incorporated in the 1950s.

“The office is a throw-back to the days when the town had somebody on the payroll to go out and collect taxes, to physically reach into your pocket and grab your money,” Mayor Dennis J. Hancock said.

Currently, taxes collected within the city go first to the state, then are redistributed to St. Louis County and then redistributed back to the city.

“When we had the change in (2009) we started looking at what are the duties of the Collector,” Hancock said. “What we found out is that, by state statute, the collector has no duties, and there is no way to eliminate the position.”

“The best you can do is make the position an appointed position, so what the board decided to do is reduce the salary to a dollar a year and make the position an appointed one,” Hancock said.

Hancock added that if approved the change won’t go into effect for another two years. The collector position is on the April 5 ballot but no one has filed for it.

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